Meet Your BC Ambrosia Apple Growers
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 & 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!