Kelowna orchardist Dave Stirling was elected president of the Okanagan-Kootenay Cherry Growers’ Association at its annual general meeting Friday in Kelowna.
Stirling’s family has been farming in the east Kelowna area for 101 years this year.
He currently grows 35 acres of cherries, the first year his entire crop has been cherries.
Prior to 1997, he grew apples, but gradually he has transitioned into cherries.
He joined the association in 2001, just two years after it was formed.
Stirling says about 75 per cent of his fruit is exported.
Elected vice-president was David A. Geen, a cherry grower from the Lake Country area, who operates Coral Beach Farms.
OKCGA treasurer is Christine Dendy, who grows cherries in southeast Kelowna as well.
Other growers from this area elected to the board include Glen Wood of Kelowna, Roger Bailey of Lake Country, Hank Markgraf, field services manager with the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative, and David H. Geen of Lake Country.
Past-president Greg Norton said the association relies on voluntary levies per box of fruit to put toward research work on issues affecting the industry, which has grown rapidly in this region in recent years.
This year there are a record number of contributors to the association’s work. Issues facing cherry growers include new pests, water, storage and new varieties of cherries with improved quality attributes and different ripening dates, in order to lengthen the season cherries are available.