Meet some Ambrosia apples growers from British Columbia

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers

Growing Ambrosia apples takes passion and patience. In this series of videos, “Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers”, we introduce you to a few of the people who grow your favourite apple.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Doug & Roberta Boult

Can you feel the love of an Ambrosia apple when you bite into it? We certainly hope so. And, if you could see the care and attention that Doug Boult puts into growing his Ambrosia apples, we bet it would come through with every crunch.

We visited Doug, his wife Roberta and Doug’s parents at Rafter B Farms in Cawston, BC in September just before harvest. This farm has been a place of experimentation and innovation since Doug’s father ran the place. Doug continues on in that tradition and is proud to say that it shows in his beautiful Ambrosia apples. He even has a special technique for making sure his Ambrosia apples are extra rosy in colour.

Join us for a tour of the farm, learn about his secret, and get to know the Boults a little better.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – – Shane Witzke

Shane Witzke’s Kelowna Ambrosia Apple farm is a long way from Nazi-occupied Poland but that’s where this story begins.

Shane’s grandfather fled his homeland with his family during WWII and made the long journey across Canada before finding his new home in the Okanagan. Over time, he acquired land in Kelowna and started a farm.

Two generations later, Shane operates the farm along with his father which now features Ambrosia apples prominently.

We visited Shane in his Ambrosia apple blocks just a few days before harvest in September 2019. We’d love to introduce you to him and his interesting family history.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Wes Burdick

Despite being a real estate agent, farming has always been in Wes Burdick’s blood. He grew up on a dairy farm and when he and his family relocated to the Okanagan from Alberta, it wasn’t long before he’d found himself the owner of an apple orchard.

A chance meeting and a spontaneous offer lead to an unexpected and happy change of pace for him. It was a steep learning curve, but when we met him in his Ambrosia apple orchard in September 2019, it seemed like he couldn’t be happier about getting back to his roots.

With ready-to-pick Ambrosia apples hanging from his newly planted trees, Wes shared his story with us. Would you like to hear it? We thought you would.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Natalina Araujo

When Natalina Araujo took over managing the farm in 2012, she didn’t know much about growing apples. But, she knew that her passion for growing healthy food would see her through the learning curve. Luckily, he father-in-law was happy to show her the ropes.

We visited the Araujo farm in Penticton, BC just as the Ambrosia apples were about to be harvested. She showed us around and shared the story of how she went from working in an office to managing the orchard. Natalina wasn’t a total stranger to the farming way of life.

She’d grown up in the region and had felt the love of being on the farm. She also married a man whose family were farmers. When she felt the calling to become an orchardist, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Her father-in-law had just started to think about retirement and was thrilled that Natalina was ready to pick up things up just in time for him to do that.

Life is quite different for Natalina now and she wouldn’t change it for the world. She’s proud to put fresh, nutritious, whole food on people’s tables, especially when that food is Ambrosia apples.

We’d love for you to meet her.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – The  Gills

Farmers, in general, are no strangers to risk but Railou Gill appears to be quite friendly with the idea of taking chances.

He and his father moved to Canada when he was a teenager. He’d spent a little time on his uncle’s farm during his high school years but had no idea how to run one. That didn’t stop him from taking charge when his father bought an orchard. And, they were successful.

Flash forward to a trip to India where he met and married his wife, Rupinder, in less than a day. That worked out as well as the happy couple shared with us the success of their partnership – not the least of which is their four children.

Rupinder wasn’t too sure about Railou’s next gamble – buying a very large piece of barren land that didn’t have a water supply.

When we visited them at Paradise Orchards in Cawston, BC (while they were proudly harvesting their Ambrosia apples), we discovered what happened when they took that chance. And, how Railou managed to convince Rupinder it would all work out.

After visiting with them, we’re going to guess that every challenge and chance-taken came with a lot of laughter. We’re sure their story will put a smile on your face – we’d love for you to meet them.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Adrian Arts

He’s considered a young gun in the Ambrosia apple growing community. Unlike most farmer’s his age, he didn’t come into farming by way of his family. Adrian Arts just happened into it and fell in love with farming.

We visited Adrian at his leased farm, Dabbagh Family Orchards in Summerland, BC, just before the Ambrosia apple harvest in 2018.

Adrian shared how his education in Water Resource Science and Geology along with his experience working with the Food Bank toward food sovereignty lead to him having a passion for farming. He knew it as soon as he got his first job pruning trees as a seasonal job.

When an opportunity to lease an orchard arose a short time later, he jumped at the chance. He knew that this was what he wanted to do with his life. He also knew there would be a steep learning curve.

His fellow farmers have been there to help him out along the way. He feels like the entire community supports his goals to produce the best possible Ambrosia apples for those who love them.

With three years under his belt, his passion for growing food has not waned. The pure joy he feels as a farmer is evident as he tends to his Ambrosia apple trees and (especially) as he bites into the crispy, juice fruits of his labour. We think you should meet him.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – The Gills

Many farmers hope that their children will take over farm some day. For the Gills of Lake Country, BC – that dream is coming true.

They’ve been growing Ambrosia apples since the early days of Ambrosia. Now, their son is preparing to finish high school and head off to university before coming back to take over running the family orchard. His parents couldn’t be more proud.

Meet the Gills, one of your BC Ambrosia apple growers.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Mohinder Dhaliwal

Mohinder Dhaliwal learned from his parents and grandparents about the value of hard work on the farm. After he immigrated to Penticton, BC from India, he naturally turned to farming as a way of life.

Many decades later, he is proud to have raised his own family and to produce beautiful Ambrosia apples on his orchard.

We visited his farm a few weeks before harvest in September, 2017.

Meet Mohinder Dhaliwal, one of your BC Ambrosia apple growers.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Usha Saini

There was something about the Okanagan Valley that inspired Usha Saini’s dream to own an Ambrosia apple orchard. Unfortunately, her husband wasn’t interested in being a farmer.

Once you meet Usha, you’ll see that she’s not the kind of woman who takes ‘no’ for an answer.

Now in her 70’s and a widow, she’s still running the farm in West Kelowna, BC. With a little help from her family and new friends she manages to grow amazing Ambrosia apples. Her energy and spirit are sure to put a smile on your face.

Meet one of your Ambrosia apple growers; Usha Saini.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Greg Sanderson

He was born into farming and, other than a brief foray beyond the farm in his youth, Greg Sanderson has never been able to shake that he’s a farmer at heart.

We visited him in his Ambrosia apple orchard in Cawston, BC, just before harvest time.

While we chatted he shared how farming landed him in an RCMP cruiser, helped him develop a great partnership with his wife and raise a close-knit family. Plus, he shares what makes him the most proud to be an Ambrosia apple grower.

Take a trip to Cawston and meet Ambrosia apple farmer, Greg Sanderson.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Surinder Shergill

When Surinder Shergill came to Canada he knew he wanted to be a farmer. It took him 17 years of working in a factory to save enough money to buy his orchard.

Now he proudly grows Ambrosia apples in East Kelowna with help from his wife and son. We visited his orchard as his Ambrosia apples were about to be harvested.

Surinder is such a fan of Ambrosia that he’s even traveled to trade shows to introduce them to folks who’ve never seen them before.
Find out why he loves Ambrosia apples so much when you meet Surinder Shergill.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Antonio and Tony DiMaria

Growing up on an apple orchard, you dream of the day you can leave. That was the case with Tony DiMaria as a young man on his father’s orchard in Kelowna and it turned out to be the case for Tony’s own son, Antonio.

Neither of them got far before they felt the call to return to the farm and the life of a fruit grower. Tony didn’t return to his father’s orchard but rather started his own in Lake Country, BC. Decades later, he is now happily apprenticing his son to take over operations.

Meet Ambrosia apple growers, Tony and Antonio DiMaria. We visited them at their farm about a week before their Ambrosia apples were ready for harvest. They shared a little about what life is like on the farm and how much there is to learn when taking on an orchard business.

Watch as a third generation orchardist steps into his new role.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Tahir Raza

He grew up in a family of farmers but in 1992 he decided to leave Pakistan for a better life in Canada. Twenty years later, Tahir Raza returned to his farming roots when he purchased and planted his own Ambrosia apple orchard in Vernon, BC.

We visited Tahir in his orchard in mid-September as the Ambrosia harvest was just beginning. We discovered that the farm is still a family affair as he runs the operation along with his wife, brother and sister-in-law.

It was no surprise to any of them that running the farm would be hard work but they are happy to do it. They all get great joy out of growing and providing food for people – especially those who love Ambrosia apples.

Meet Tahir and his family in the latest video in our series, Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Tom Ouchi

In the mid 1970’s, an industrial accident put a Japanese immigrant out of work in Vancouver. He moved to the Okanagan and started Ringo-En Orchards. Three generations later, his grandson Tom still operates it. We visited Tom Ouchi in Vernon, BC just as they had started picking Ambrosia apples. Tom shared his family’s story of challenges from his grandfather’s accident to his mother’s internment and relocation during the Second World War. He recalls the importance of the close-knit Japanese community in Vernon during a time when there was a lot of racism against Japanese-Canadians Despite the long history, Tom had no plans to take over the family business when he graduated university. However, when his father became ill, he and his wife decided to return to the farm and take it on. It’s a decision he doesn’t regret saying it’s a good lifestyle and he’s proud to grow healthy food, like Ambrosia apples, for the community. Meet Tom Ouchi in the latest video in our Meet Your  BC Ambrosia Apple Growers series.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers –  Ronnie and Avtar Mann

Originally from India, Ronnie and Avtar Mann came to Canada separately but discovered a shared desire to grow great food. Number one on their list is growing big, beautiful BC Ambrosia apples. We visited their farm in Vernon, BC just before harvest time in mid September. They consider themselves lucky to lease a farm that comes with the guidance of one of the Okanagan’s best orchardists and produces a crop of Ambrosia that they know people love. The proof is in the pudding – Mann’s Orchard was the recipient of The Golden Apple Award (presented by the B.C. Fruit Grower’s Association) in 2012. The Manns are a true success story but we’re far from the last chapter. The Manns have future ambitions that they’re nurturing in an interesting way. We’re happy to introduce you to these amazing BC Ambrosia apple growers. Please meet Ronnie and Avtar Mann.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Julie Sardinha

Julie Sardinha didn’t expect to be running an Ambrosia apple orchard on her own but when she lost her husband unexpectedly she took it on. She quickly discovered that she wasn’t really alone; she had an entire community to support her. We visited Julie in her Summerland, BC orchard in late August when the Ambrosias were big but still a month or so from blushing to their distinctive creamy-yellow and rosy-red two-tone colour. She shared with us the heartbreak of losing her husband and how everyone helped to keep the farm on track after the tragedy. In her first year running the farm, she quickly discovered that both her family and her extended family (aka the farming community) were there to help. And, she was also surprised to realize that even though she had never been in charge of the farm, she knew more than she thought she did about running the place. But most importantly, she shared her pride in being able to work with her daughter (when she’s not at University) and keep the orchard operating in a way that her husband would have been proud of. Take a few minutes to hear Julie’s touching story as you meet the BC farmers who grow your Ambrosia apples.

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Jack and Adelia Machial

Maintaining an orchard keeps you as busy as a bee – and you’d better hope the bees are busy too because the apples (and farmers) depend on them. In this episode of Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers, we head to Oliver, BC to connect with Jack and Adelia Machial. This couple has been growing fruit in the southern Okanagan Valley for nearly four decades. We discovered that these have been some pretty sweet years. It started with a love story that crossed an ocean. That led to a life of raising a family in the orchard, caring for their apple trees, discovering Ambrosia apples in a rather covert way and keeping it all buzzing with some happy honey bees. When we visited the farm it was time to thin the smaller apples off the trees. With an abundance of little green apples, Jack knew exactly who to blame. Find out who when you meet Jack and Adelia Machial. We can’t wait to introduce you!

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Denise and Richard MacDonald

In this episode, we meet Denise and Richard MacDonald. They’ve been growing Ambrosia from the very beginning. As active members of the Okanagan orchardist community, they knew this apple was a winner from the first bite. And that’s not the only thing that they knew early on. Theirs is a love story that has taken them from barren land to raising three kids while growing apples and becoming shining examples of fruit growers in the valley. We visited them when the Ambrosias were oh so close to being harvest ready and were lucky enough to catch the very first Ambrosia apple to be picked for the 2013 season. It was an exciting time on the farm and we want to share it with you. Would you like to meet Denise and Richard and find out what makes them so passionate? We can’t wait to introduce you!

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – The Brown Family

In this episode, we meet Steve Brown who didn’t know how much he loved horticulture until his dad bought an orchard in Summerland, BC. Was it a twist of fate or a father’s secret plan? We stopped by Happy Valley Harvest to find out. The Ambrosia apples were still a few months from blushing into their tell-tale rosy colour as Steve and his young family shared their story of an unexpected path to becoming Ambrosia apple growers. Would you like to meet the Brown family? We can’t wait to introduce you!

Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers – Raj and Jamie

Growing Ambrosia apples is often a family affair. In this episode, we meet two important orchardists in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Jamie Kidston and Raj Bagha are not related but the apple orchard has brought them together to combine each of their families’ long standing history in growing apples. For Jamie, it’s about passing on the knowledge and for Raj it’s about realizing his family’s immigrant dream. Would you like to meet them? We’re happy to introduce you!

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