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'Worst Year Ever' for Spotted Wing Drosophila 2013 Year in Review What's in store for the ALR Annual Interview with BC Ag Minister

Year End 2013 $6.95

Display Until Feb. 15, 2013 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40838008

16th Annual Pacific Agriculture Show Section

Photo by Vismax | Photo by the BC Government Ministry of Agriculture.

Farmland morning mist, Richmond, BC.

Surinder Sandhu from Sandhu Greenhouses and Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm. Read our Annual Interview with the Minister on page 21. 2

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What's new in berries. Find out how the year went on page 30 of our 2013 Year in Review.

features 9 Pacific Agriculture Show Section 10 A Weekend Of Learning & Tech Displays 12 Hired Guns Target the Beverage Industry 14 Blueberry Munching Voles 16 Spotted Winged Drosophila Attacks 17 Using Robots to Build Fuel Tanks 18 Jet Label Goes Digital 19 Washington Tractor's Electrifying Exhibit 20 Matsqui Ag-Repair at the Fair 21 Land, Labour & Liquor Laws Our annual year-end interview with the Minister of Agriculture


25 Battle Brewing Over Future of ALR 26 2013 The Year In Review

4 Publisher's View – Lisa Olson

28 Apples: A Hail Of A Year

5 News & Events

30 Berries: A Berry Good Road Trip

6 Calendar

32 Tree Fruits: Cherries & More…

41 Legal Libations – Denese Espeut-Post

33 Vineyards: Crying In Our Merlot

42 Money Talks – Marsha Stanley

35 A 2013 Wine Industry Timeline 39 B.C. Opens Cranberry Research Farm

43 World Wine Web – Mike Cooper

50 BC Liquor Law Review

44 Guest Column – Gary & Susan Snow 47 The Wild Things – Margaret Holm

Cover Photo: Coloured vine rows in the sunset, Osoyoos, BC. By Matilde Toscani |

49 Editor’s View – Devon Brooks

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2013 Semi-Sweet for Growers

Vol. 54, No 6 Year End 2013


Established in 1959

was lucky enough this year to be given a large bag of hail-damaged apples that were left over from a donation to a women’s pie-making group. The apples were so fresh, crisp and delicious; I enjoyed each one and made a few apple crisps as well. It’s a shame the hail came and spoiled their re-sale value.

Publisher Lisa Olson Editor Devon Brooks Graphic Design

I was sad to watch the weather play havoc on a number of fruit crops, including the newly planted crops and the crop insurance that couldn’t be purchased in time to recoup the costs associated with crop expenses. Inside this issue we cover the year in apples, cherries, berries, grapes and more in our Annual Year-inReview starting on page 27.

Good news and congratulations go out to many who won fruit and wine awards at various events, festivals and exhibitions this year! Two-time world juice winners, Gary and Susan Snows from Tabletree Juice, share the inspiring story of their big win at the World Juice Awards on page 46. Congratulations and a tip of the glass to all the advocates who rallied for changes to our tired old wine laws. Check out

Contributors Michael Botner, Devon Brooks, Mike Cooper, Kim Elsasser, Denese Espeut-Post, Margaret Holm,

Photo by Kim Elsasser

This year for our annual interview with the provincial Agriculture Minister, we enlisted the help of a few industry leaders to let us know what questions were on their mind for us to ask. We did and it led to a bit of a scoop. In the wake of leaked documents to the Globe and Mail, our exclusive interview with Pat Pimm sheds new light on the proposed future of the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Stephanie Symons

Darcy Nybo, Ronda Payne, Gary Snow, Susan Snow, Marsha Stanley, Gary Symons Sales & Marketing

page 51 for our idea of what is full or half full in BC Wine Laws.

Holly Thompson

Do you enjoy it when company comes to town? This February, we will have the opportunity to show off our town and province as the International Fruit Tree Association hold their 57th Annual Conference and Intensive Workshop in Kelowna, B.C from February 22-26.

Circulation Orchard & Vine Magazine 1576 West Kelowna Road West Kelowna, B.C., V1Z 3H5 E-mail:

Most importantly, my wish for the upcoming year for you is good heath for you and your families and a fun and prosperous new year! Phone: 250-769-2123 Fax: 1-866-433-3349

Best of the Season from all of us at Orchard & Vine!

Orchard & Vine Magazine is published six times a year and distributed by addressed

Enjoy the magazine!

direct mail to growers, suppliers and wineries in the Okanagan, Kootenays, Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island,

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Orchard to Table Ambrosia Apple Recipe Contest Share your Ambrosia Apple recipes and win! Ambrosia Apples is launching its Orchard to Table Recipe Contest and you could win 1 of 4 prizes from Cuisinart and Breville totaling over $1500! So get in the kitchen and get creative! “The contest is about bringing people, food and fantastic flavors together, with a chance to win great prizes,” said a spokesperson for the group. “Ambrosia apples were created by nature and we want to know how Canadians create in the kitchen with them. Then we’ll share those recipes with the world.” Ambrosia apples are unique as an ingredient in recipes as they are slow to brown, have a natural sweetness, and retain their shape when baked or cooked. The main rule for the contest is that Ambrosia apples – raw or cooked – must be prominently featured in the dish. The contest is on now and runs through to December 10 at 4 p.m. Full rules and regulations can be found online at

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Photo courtesy of the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

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The exhibit hall at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

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Unified Wine & Grape Symposium January 28 - 30, 2014 Sacramento Convention Center Sacramento, California 12th Annual Agri-Food Industry Gala January 29, 2014
 Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre
 Abbotsford, BC 16th Annual Pacific Agriculture Show January 30 - Feb 1, 2014 Tradex Exhibition Centre Abbotsford, BC 57th International Fruit Tree Association Annual Conference & Intensive Workshop February 27 - March 1, 2014 Delta Grand Okanagan Resort Kelowna, BC

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Islands Agriculture Show February 7 - 8, 2014 Cowichan Exhibition Park, Duncan, BC


Pioneering Winery Cedar Creek Celebrates 25 Years ... With a Toast! The BC wine industry hit a major milestone in October when Cedar Creek celebrated its 25th anniversary. Cedar Creek Estate Winery was one of the first eight wineries to operate in BC, releasing its first vintage to the public in 1987. The winery has survived thanks to the owners’ ability to stay ahead of the wave of changes that affected the wine industry over the last quarter-century. The winery was launched in Kelowna in 1986, and purchased in 1988 by Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, who could see the potential for the Okanagan’s unique terroir.That same year, the wine industry was threatened by the introduction of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) which allowed quality US wines into BC at low prices. Fitzpatrick saw this as a challenge, as opposed to a threat, and was among the first to replace lower quality hybrid grapes with vinifera vines. Photo contributed

In the years since Cedar Creek established a high standard of quality, twice being named Canadian Winery of the Year. Now operated by Ross’s son Gordon Fitzpatrick, Cedar Creek is gearing up for the next quarter century with a new winemaker, Darryl Brooker, and a new dedication to producing ultra high quality aromatic whites.

Founder Ross Fitzpatrick and his son Gordon are celebrating their 25th year in operation at Cedar Creek Estate Winery.

BC Apples Win Nine Awards at National Apple Competition BC growers took nine out of 40 awards at the National Apple Competition in the 'New Varieties' category at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Photo courtesy BCFGA

BC growers cleaned up in the Golden Delicious class. Billy and Shawna Boerboom of Summerland took first, and Greg Sanderson of Cawston took second. BC dominated in the Ambrosia category as well. Devin and Janine Jell of Summerland took first, the Boerbooms were second and third went to Nirmal Dhaliwal of Oliver. The Jells also won in the Aurora Golden Galas, and were second for the 'Best Collection of 5 Varieties, followed by the Boerbooms.

B.C. takes two awards in the ‘Best Collection of 5 Varieties’ class at the National Apple Competition.

In other awards, the Boerbooms took second for Macintosh; Steve Brown of Summerland took second for Gala, Jeff and Lori Marshall of Winfield received a third for Nicola apples in the ‘Other New Varieties’ class, second to Jack Machial for Early Fuji and first place to Ton Kinvig of Summerland for his Salish. Year End 2013



ITFA Conference Showcases BC Growers to the World conference brings growers and experts from around the world. Last year, the IFTA featured speakers from throughout Europe, North America, and South America. Okanagan orchardists will be showcasing their techniques to the world in February, when the annual IFTA conference is held in Kelowna. The International Fruit Tree Association is the world body for orchardists growing compact fruit trees. The annual

IFTA was established in 1958 "to promote an understanding of the nature and use of dwarf fruit trees through research, education and dissemination of information." The goal of the association is to advance the art of producing intensive yield orchard systems and technologies.

The 2014 schedule has not yet been released, but will be posted soon at www. The annual conference features many distinguished speakers sharing expertise on a variety of topics, including horticultural economics; rootstocks, varieties, and systems for apples, pears, and cherries; organic tree fruit production; new research; and current and emerging varieties from around the world. Because the membership is so

international, the conference is in a different country every year. Last year’s conference was held in Boston, while the 2012 event was staged in Santiago, Chile. The 56th Annual Conference & Intensive Workshop will be held February 22-26, 2014, at the Delta Grand Hotel in downtown Kelowna. There will be intensive, hands on workshops on site, as well as field tours to orchards in the Okanagan Valley.

Photo by Joni MacFarlane

Photo courtesy of Washington State University

Vengeance of Little Cherry Disease

Canada’s Largest Grapevine? A beautiful old grapevine at the SpringBreak Garden Centre in Crowsnest Pass might well be the largest. While it may or may not have bragging rights for being the largest, it is certainly very large. The main trunk has a girth of 30 inches and it covers about 2,200 square feet in the SpringBreak greenhouse. Lloyd Schmidt stumbled across the vine on a visit from his Ontario home. Schmidt believes the grape is a Himrod, a cross between a varietal known as ‘Ontario’ and ‘Thompson Seedless,’ which was developed in New York State and released in 1952. Schmidt thinks this vine was propagated from one of 25 plants that his father worked with at Okanagan Mission Vineyard in the ‘50s. No one is sure exactly how it made the trip to the Crowsnest, but it has definitely thrived.


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Healthy cherries on top, Little Cherry infected fruit on bottom.

In the 1950s an outbreak of Little Cherry Disease had a disastrous impact on fruit growers in British Columbia. Now, orchardists in Washington believe that the very cool, wet weather of 2010 has reawakened the disease and it is spreading. As the name implies Little Cherry Disease affects the size of the cherries but also affects the flavour, colour and sugar content. According to researchers at Washington State University Bing and Sweetheart cultivars are less susceptible to the disease and after the first season the effects aren’t quite as severe, but the tree and fruit never recover. Wet and cool years allow the virus to thrive. So far there is no treatment and infected trees must be cut down.


BC's biggest and best agricultural exhibition is back! Close to 8,000 producers and more than 250 companies converge on Abbotsford. From tradeshows, to seminars, to the fabulous annual Agri-food Industry Gala, the Ag Show has something for everyone. Check inside to learn more about the best of this year's show.

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The 16th Annual Pacific Agriculture Show

A Weekend Of Learning, Tech Displays, and The Best Party In Town The Pacific Agriculture Show returns January 30 with the biggest and best program in its 16-year history.

er it’s cutting-edge technologies at the tradeshow, or the techniques learned in the Short Course seminars.

The ‘Ag Show’, as it’s often called, is the largest and most important agricultural exhibition in BC. It attracts thousands of farmers and producers every year, who come to kick the tires with more than 250 exhibiting companies.

The Pacific Ag Show is also the time when growers and producers celebrate the best in agriculture at the 12th Annual Agri-Food Industry Gala.

The two main aspects of the annual Ag Show are the tradeshow - where companies from around North America show off the latest in agricultural technology and products - and the slate of conferences. For fruit growers the main conference of interest is the annual Horticulture Growers’ Short Course. This conference covers fruit, vegetable and greenhouse producers, but the program for fruit growers is a major part of the show every year. The schedule of speakers is not yet released for the Short

Course, but organizers say there are some critical topics being addressed. Among the most serious is the outbreak of Spotted Wing Drosophila, which has devastated many of the berry crops in BC. Also known as the vinegar fly, this pest was first seen in BC in 2009, and last year was the worst year yet for crop damage.

Speakers will be on hand to brief growers on the best way to save the harvest from this and other agricultural pests. No matter what niche you’re in, the Horticulture Growers’ Short Course is an absolute must see. Growers attend the Pacific Ag Show primarily to learn new methods to improve their products or their yield, wheth-

The banquet at the Ramada Plaza in Abbotsford fittingly features the very best of BCproduced meats, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and wines. And while producers meet here every year for one of the year’s best parties, this is also a time to mark the achievements of innovators in the field with the BC Agriculture Council Awards. The twelfth annual gala will take place on Wednesday, January 29, in the Ballroom of the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre in Abbotsford. This year’s program starts at 5:00 PM with a champagne reception and networking event. Dinner is served at 7:00 PM and features a wide array of fabulous BC products. ■

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Hired Guns Target the Beverage Industry

A posse of Hired Guns is hitting the target in BC's wine country with some edgy marketing campaigns that combine high art with very targeted messaging. Hired Gun Creative was launched in 2008 primarily as a web design company, until partners Richard Hatter and Leif Miltenberger decided to focus entirely on the beer, wine and spirits industry. Their success brings some telling lessons for the industry in attracting new buyers, and keeping a loyal clientele. The partners say, it's all about the story. “We bring a younger, fresher, weirder perspective to the industry,” says Business Director Leif Miltenberger. “But it's not enough to just bring the 'weird'. We also bring solid industry experience. We've had the successes to know what's going to work and what's not. 12 Year End 2013

I'm a professional artist, and the liquor store is my art show. It's how I chose to get my art out there. Richard Hatter “People want to buy what's cool, and in this rapidly changing market you always have to stay ahead of the curve. People don't want to buy their grandpa's wine.” One of Hired Gun's recent successes was the branding and packaging design of the new Bonamici Cellars winery. The winery's label features a graphic of two 'explorers' sailing in the sky in a Steam-

punk-styled ship made of a wine barrel and two balloons. It quickly turned heads, helping Bonamici gain market share quickly with both consumers and with restaurant buyers. Well-known wine writer John Schreiner was among those who bought a bottle, saying, “The label is so refreshing that I smiled spontaneously in joy when I saw

it. It has been a while since I have seen such an effective label.” 'Telling the story' of a product is the key element behind the Hired Guns' method. “You need to take a few steps back when looking at your products, and make sure they have a personality,” says Creative Director Richard Hatter. “What makes a package designer rise to the top is having the package tell a story in a split second of looking at it on the shelf. “I'm a professional artist, and the liquor store is my art show. It's how I chose to get my art out there.” Longwood Brewery is another happy client whose award-winning packaging helped them grow from 'brew pub' status to a real contender in the BC beer market. Miltenberger says that success came because Longwood was willing to start from scratch, and build a solid marketing campaign from the ground up. “When it's done right, it can have a huge impact,” Miltenberger says. “Longwood Brewery went from a market of 30,000 people a little over a year ago, and now after working with us they are all over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland with a market of over a million.” That rapid success helped convince Rob Smith, director of sales at the venerable Hester Creek winery on Oliver's Golden Mile. Their new website launches in December. Smith says Hester Creek loves what Hired Gun is doing and is entering into a long-term relationship with them for everything from web design to marketing campaigns.

Photos contributed

“Hired Guns is bringing some fresh ideas to our industry, and from what I've seen they are definitely firing on all cylinders, Smith says. “The consumer we wanted is the competent 30-year-old female professional, who makes wine decisions for friends and family. The work done by Hired Guns introduced new consumers to the brand, consumers that we really didn't have before, but now they're curious about us because of the marketing campaign these guys created.” ■ 250-591-6965

Wine writer John Schreiner called this Bonamici label the best he's seen in years.

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Five-Year Study Launched to Study Blueberry Munching Voles At first glance, the blueberry farm in Ladner, BC seemed just fine, other than some discoloured leaves. Then the farm owner went out and tugged on one of the bushes.

Photo by Vasiliy Vishnevskiy |

To his shock, the bush came right out of the ground with no resistance at all ... and no roots! Researcher Bill Ransome says while everything looked fine above ground, below the farmer’s feet hundreds of tiny but voracious Townsend Voles were devouring the roots of his blueberry bushes. “He lost so much that he has to put poison out,” says Ransome. “It’s in the several thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, and he just can’t handle that level of damage.” Last year Ransome presented some of his preliminary findings at the Pacific Agriculture Show from a pilot program of research into fruit damage from the Townsend Vole. That initial research showed a serious enough problem that Ransome, an instructor at BCIT, is now leading a

five-year, in-depth study into Voles and berry damage. Ransome was the lead investigator in a previous study which focused on the Microtus genus of Vole, which primarily goes after tree roots in the BC Interior. “Our studies have gone back over a long period of time,” Ransome says. “Voles can cause millions of dollars damage in forested areas around Kelowna and Kamloops. There was an outbreak of

voles there, and they ate a large proportion of the trees on tree farms in that area.” In the berry farms of the Lower Mainland Ransome has again donned his detective’s cap, investigating the activities of the Townsend Vole. Very little is known about this species, and even less about its long-term impact on berry crops. “We know there is damage, and that some producers

are seeing a huge amount of damage,” he says. “But, why do some producers have high amounts of damage and other producers right next door have low amounts of damage? Why are some years worse than others, and what drives the vole to go after berry crops some years and not other years? “So far, no one has really studied these voles in an agricultural setting.” Townsend voles live underground and are not often seen above ground. The best evidence of their presence are the entrances to vole tunnels, and the ‘runways’ or trails that lead from one tunnel to another. “There have been plots done where it was revealed there were up to 800 voles on a single hectare, and there was one in the forest with 1200 voles per hectare,” says Ransome. “The fact is, we really don’t know what’s going on under the ground, but we need to find out.”■

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Growers' Short Course to Focus on Tiny Winged Terror “It’s hard to get a handle on the dollar value of the losses, because it’s not like the fruit is simply thrown out,” he says. “What happens is the fruit gets downgraded, from fresh to frozen, and from frozen down to juice, depending on the damage. In dollar terms you might get 80 cents to a dollar a pound for fresh, and only 20 cents for juice, so you can see it can have a dramatic impact.

A tiny but massively destructive bug will be the focus this year when hundreds of berry growers meet at the Pacific Agriculture Show in January. The Spotted Wing Drosophila, or vinegar fruit fly, was discovered in BC in 2009. Since then this pinhead-sized pest has spread throughout the Lower Mainland. “This has been the worst year ever in the Fraser Valley for this pest,” says conference organizer Mark Sweeney. “It has been a tough year with big challenges.”

“This year we had more downgrading of berries than ever before.” A panel of growers and researchers will be examining ways to do battle with the fruit fly invasion.

Sweeney says it’s difficult to quantify the losses, but reports from growers show massive losses over the past growing season.

File Photo

Sweeney is co-organizer of the Horticulture Growers’ Short Course, which is the conference portion of the Pacific Ag Show. He is also an Industry Specialist in the Fruits and Nuts division at the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

Drosophila pupae eating blueberries. 



A series of seminars at the Ag Show will examine management methods to reduce the damage, but at this point, Sweeney says there is no magic bullet that can seriously reduce the spread of the Spotted Wing Drosophila. “There is a lot of research going on around the world, and the troubling thing is at this point there is no breakthrough,” Sweeney says. “In the long term the question is whether there is a method of ‘bio-control’ for this fly, which might be a parasite or might be a natural predator, but at this point there is nothing like that out there.” The Spotted Wing Drosophila originally came from Asia, and spread throughout the world mainly due to global fruit exports. It was first spotted in BC in 2009.

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Almost all berries and fruits are vulnerable to the vinegar fly. That includes rasperries, strawberries, cherries and blackberries, but in BC the biggest worry is the blueberry crop. Last year, BC’s estimated 850 growers exported $168 million in blueberries, and sold much more locally. The vinegar fly lays its eggs in the berry, which hatch inside as larvae. While not harmful to humans, this causes the fruit to soften. Sweeney says fruit cannot be sold fresh if it has larvae, and often these fruits are turned into juice. Right now, without a bio-control method in sight, growers are being advised to spray their ripening blueberries and strawberries once a week during harvest.


Tidy Tanks Using Robots to Build Fuel Tanks Most farms have some sort of fuel storage tanks onsite, or at the very least in their farm trucks, but few of us think about the technology going into them. In fact, for many years that technology hasn't changed much, but this year at the Pacific Ag Show you'll see fuel tanks built by robots. Okay, not actual robots like in Lost In Space. These industrial robots are more like giant, pre-programmed robotic arms. Ken Nelson says Tidy Tanks has adopted robotic welding in their Langley shop; the same kind of robotic welding you'd see, for example, in an advanced automobile production line. As well, Tidy Tanks now does powder coat finishing on their tanks, rather than just ordinary paint.

Photo contributed

"The result is that we get much better quality, and it's not costing our customers any extra," says Nelson. Robotic welding is currently done on the smaller tanks; larger tanks are still built by old-fashioned humans. You can see the result of Tidy Tank's robot army at the Pacific Agriculture Show on Jan. 30. ■ Tidy Tanks is now using robotic welders to build their smaller fuel tanks. The new tanks will be shown at the Pacific Agriculture Show starting Jan. 30.

The Spotted Wing Drosophila - Continued

However, Sweeney says that brings its own challenges. “On the management side there is more spraying required, but this means tractors are going through the fields at harvest time,” he says. “As you can imagine, this not only means more work and more cost, but it can also cause some damage.”

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The schedule and speakers for the conference at the Pacific Agriculture Show has not yet been finalized, but Sweeney confirms it will be the major focus this year on the fruit and berry part of the program. The 2014 Pacific Agriculture Show runs this year from January 30 to February 1. ■

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Jet Label Goes Digital People say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s no question consumers judge a product by its label. Smart, attractive packaging and labels are one of the most important things a producer can do to increase sales, whether it’s a jar of blueberry jam, or a bottle of Okanagan Merlot.

“We were the first in Canada to buy this press, and even today we’re the only ones that have two,” says President and CEO Darrell Friesen. “It was a huge investment for us, but we feel it was worth it because we can now offer our customers better quality and more flexibility for a much lower price.” The new presses have changed the very nature of Jet Labels’ business. “We used to be the ‘cheap and easy’ guys,” Friesen says. “Now, these presses allow us to get into the very high end labelling business, so among other things we are moving into the wine label business. “We have the equipment; now it’s just our will to get out there

Photo contributed

Jet Label is now making it easier and less expensive for food and wine producers to brand their products with labels that really pop. The company has invested in two high-tech printing presses; the HP Indigo WS6600. Jet is currently the only company in Canada with two of these presses, each of which cost $1.7 million.

Jet Label entering wine industry, with two cutting-edge HP Indigo presses.

and develop a relationship with wineries in the Okanagan who demand that high quality, but would like to see some cost savings.” The Indigo digital press offers three key advantages over traditional ‘Flexo’ presses: Price. With digital printing producers can do smaller runs at

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huge cost savings. “This is ideal for those wineries that might do 50,000 bottles a year, but have 10,000 of one variety, 5,000 of another, and so on,” says Friesen. Flexibility. The flexo style press requires very large print runs to be economical, because a plate has to be created for each label. With digital, the image goes straight to the press and elements of the label can be changed as they’re being printed. One winery in Mexico used this to put seven different works of art on their limited edition wine bottles.



Quality. The print quality and accuracy for Indigo machines is very high, partly because digital allows for better colour reproduction with less work. “We just never have that ‘quality conversation’ with people about whether the red is red enough or the yellow is intense enough,” says Friesen. “With this machine you just pick the pantone colour and it is perfect, absolutely perfect.”

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Electrifying Display

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Meet our Agriculture Services Specialists

Washington Tractor will have an electrifying exhibit at the Pacific Agriculture Show. Sales Rep Tom Lagreid says the LectroBlast sprayer will be the centre of their display this year. "It's not completely new technology, but it is very advanced, and the quality is through the roof," says Lagreid.

Jeremy Siddall Account Manager 1633 Ellis St., Unit 100 Kelowna 250-763-4241, ext. 222 250-503-4501 (cell)

The LectroBlast is similar to other air blast style sprayers, except that it fires an electrical charge through the droplets of water. "This keeps all the droplets at a small and unified size, and because of the charge they are attracted to the plants for (an electrical) ground," Lagreid explains. "This results in a very fine, even covering of spray on all the plants, and it also results in a very significant cut to overspray, particularly on windy days. For this latest innovation in sprayer technology, check out the Washington Tractor display at Booth 156. ■

Debra Lehune Small Business Advisor 390 Main St. Penticton 250-770-2300, ext. 301

Len Cardiff Small Business Advisor 605 K.L.O. Rd., Unit 16 Kelowna 250-317-3842

We know that farming is more than a business – it’s a way of life. We are committed to serving Canada’s farm communities by providing flexible financial solutions that let you get on with the business of farming. Contact one of our Agriculture Specialists. We’ll take the time necessary to understand your unique needs. Together we can meet today’s challenges and anticipate tomorrow’s opportunities.

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Year End 2013 19

i squ t a

Ag Repair

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Serving the Fraser & Okanagan Valley’s since 1989

Why does the largest booth at the fair belong to Matsqui Ag-Repair? by Gary Symons When you go to the Pacific Agriculture Show this year, you’ll notice the largest booth in the tradeshow belongs to Matsqui Ag-Repair.

Featuring Two Cab Tractors over 50HP and under 50”wide 34856 Harris Road, Matsqui BC •

Call 604.826.3281

The reason is simple. Sales rep Phil Mills says the Ag Show is the most important marketing opportunity of the year. “We have the biggest booth this year, and we try to make sure we have the biggest booth every year,” Mills says. “It’s a phenomenal show, and really important for us. We can show our customers our product lines and discuss the challenges they are facing on their individual farm. By the middle of February we have a good idea what our year is going to look like, and it’s all because of that one show.” While the Ag Show has been instrumental in Matsqui Ag-Repair’s success, the key reason the company can afford such a large booth is their incredible 247 per cent growth over the last 10 years. The company was founded in 1989 as a repair shop by Dave Kruk and George Veenbaas.

YOU ENJOY THE WINE. WE ENJOY THE WINE BUSINESS. To find out what we can do for you, contact Geoff McIntyre, CA in the Okanagan at 1.877.766.9735 or Marsha Stanley, CA•CBV on Vancouver Island at 1.888.854.8567.

STATIONARY & MOBILE FUEL TANKS, PUMPS & MORE • Tanks from 100-100,000 Litres • Fuel pumps, hoses, nozzles, swivels, filters • Fuel management systems available • Environmentally friendly storage tank solutions • Competitively priced without sacrificing service and quality • Visit our website and request a quote online

“They started the whole thing in their own garage, and built up the business through hard work and a philosophy of giving customers good value and good service,” says Mills. “Later on we started to sell products and things began to grow. In 2003, when we picked up the Deutz-Fahr line, our sales and growth really started to take off.." The founders of Matsqui Ag-Repair instilled a particular work ethic into all their staff, who now work off a large three-bay 4,800 square foot shop on Matsqui’s Harris Road. “We pride ourselves on service above all else,” says Mills. “When we sell a tractor or piece of equipment to a farmer, we don’t just drop it off and say ‘thanks for the cheque’. We stay there until that customer is familiar and happy with the equipment.” That philosophy extends to the products they carry. Matsqui Ag-Repair carries a relatively small range of products, but each is chosen according to a particular set of criteria. “It’s three main things,” explains Mills. “We look for something that fills a particular need that other dealers don’t fill. We look for high quality. And third, we look at what kind of warranty is offered to us and our customer. “We will only deal with manufacturers who stand behind their product a hundred per cent.” ■ You can see the Matsqui Ag-Repair line at Booths 1006 through 1009, or go to their website at:

22624 Fraser Hwy, Langley, BC Phone: 604 534-8585 • Toll Free: 800-663-4804 20 Year End 2013

For more on the Pacific Agriculture Show, check out our ongoing coverage at


Phot by Mark Hryciw |

The Annual O&V Interview with BC's Minister of Agriculture

Vineyard at the Burrowing Owl Estate near Oliver, BC.

By Ronda Payne

Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm was re-elected in 2013 and appointed Minister of Agriculture in June. Orchard & Vine caught up with him to ask questions posed by our readers. From liquor policies to labour plans, and the always contentious ALR, Pimm provided his thoughts on some of the issues facing B.C. agriculture.

Year End 2013 21

O&V: Will there be money for a replant program for orchardist fruit growers in 2014? Pimm: The replant program was supposed to be a three-year program, but was so successful we used the money in two years. Obviously, I don’t have exact timing (for a new program), but I’m hopeful we’ll be able to announce it sometime in 2014. That’s a big focus that I have at this time. O&V: The government recently announced another review of the ALR. What is the purpose of this review and what will it cover that wasn’t in the last review? Pimm: When I became Agriculture Minister I had a mandate to look at the ALR to make sure it’s working for B.C. In the Lower Mainland, I don’t think the land has been preserved enough. We certainly protect it in rural areas, but it’s very important that we look after the most productive lands. I also think we need a plan to get our farming families back into the farming industry. I want to see 30-yearolds back on the farm, and 20-year-olds, not leaving for other opportunities. O&V: There are concerns that the review will be used to make the withdrawal of ALR land much easier. Can you provide your thoughts? Fraser Valley blueberry fields.

Photos by the BC Government Ministry of Agriculture.

Pimm: We only have 5% of land in B.C. that’s in the ALR, period. In the most productive areas of the province (Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan) there’s only about 12% of the 5%. I think that we need to make a real strong statement that those lands are going to stay in it so that we have strong farming production. In those areas we have the most pressure on land. We also have about 80 per cent of farm receipts in those areas. I have no intention of taking the most productive farmland out of the ALR. If anything we may have to tighten up further in those most productive areas. O&V: Is the government looking to make substantive changes to how land is removed from the ALR or how the decision-making process occurs? Pimm: I really can’t comment too far on that as the core review has just started. We’re going to be proposing some things, and certainly we want to get some facts on the table as to what’s hap22 Year End 2013

B.C. and Canadian Agriculture Ministers Pat Pimm and Gerry Ritz announce funding to upgrade the B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative packing line in Winfield, with BC Tree Fruit Co-op CEO Alan Tyabji and Kelowna MP Ron Cannan.

pening. We have to look after farming for the future not only for ourselves, but our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. That being said, you can’t grow much on rocks and so we may see less protection on the rocks in the ALR. If there’s land that shouldn’t be in the ALR we should be talking about that. O&V: Can you comment on changes to the ALR that allow more flexibility for value-added, agricultural taxation policy and other competitiveness issues?

Photo by Jamesvancouver |

Pimm: We need to do a little bit more value added, but we have to be very careful because we only have so much land and don’t want to replace it with value added. (It is an) interesting issue we are going to be talking about. I can’t deal with tax laws, the Finance Minister (deals with that), but to make agriculture more viable I think we do need more value-added opportunities. O&V: What resources are being put forward for labour sources for seasonal farming operations and small lot farming? Pimm: A lot of the agriculture industry has spoken to me to try to make certain that we keep our PNP (Provincial Nomination Program) and foreign worker programs viable. I’m certainly going to be pushing for that as I think they are something we need to grow the industry. O&V: The environmental farm plan has been generally well received, but when some readers have applied, they have been told there is no money. What is your insight? Pimm: The environmental farm program is something that we are going to be continuing. The program is beneficial to our farms long term, beneficial to farmers and to the farm community as a whole. O&V: Has the government taken a stance on the labeling and allowance of growing GMO products?

Dr. Gerry Neilsen shows Minister Pimm some test apple plots at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland.

Pimm: The federal government is responsible for GMO policy at this time and I don’t see that changing. I think they do a good job on the GMO file. It can take anywhere from five to 10 years to get a product approved with GMO. We need to have more education on GMO; that’s something I think is lacking. It’s not an issue that is so unanimously supported Year End 2013 23

Photo by Leo Bruce Hempell |

Ranch beside the Crows Nest Highway, near Sparwood BC.

that it’s a natural. A lot of discussion that has to happen and a lot of information needs to be made available. O&V: There are pressures to lower both domestic and import taxes on liquor within B.C. What do you see coming for liquor taxes and how do you think these changes will impact B.C.’s wine businesses? Pimm: MLA John Yap is touring the province (getting) input into the liquor laws and liquor rules. I think that review is going to be very interesting when it all comes to light. Taxation may come up in the discussion, but I don’t think this group (doing the review) is going to have the ability to change that. O&V: What prompted this liquor review and what outcomes are you hoping for?

24 Year End 2013

Pimm: The government is doing a general review of liquor policies. I have my own opinions, but I don’t want to prejudge, I want to hear what the public has to say. We will see what’s in the review and will have the chance to analyze it. I want to see our wine expand locally and even into the Asian markets. That’s certainly what we’re hoping for.

the little guys out of the picture.

O&V: There are suggestions that the structure of BCVQA and BCWI currently favour larger producers leading to less participation by small wineries. Do you agree?

O&V: Can the government provide statistics on how many grapes or other fruit crops are needed in the next five to10 years?

Pimm: BCWI was created in 1990 with the idea to create an internationally competitive wine industry. I think B.C. wine has done that. (BCWI) continues to support the growth of B.C. wine sales not only in B.C. but worldwide. They really are focusing on the industry overall and I don’t necessarily believe that’s leaving

We want to support everybody. We want to support the industry. We want to take our fantastic B.C. wines and distribute them locally and internationally. And just a following note: we’re working as diligently as we can to get other provinces to open their borders to B.C. wines just as we’ve opened our borders.

Pimm: I think the (individual fruit grower) associations have done a pretty good job of providing the information to benefit their members. (Like the) tree fruit growers, they know which (type) of apples they’re looking for and they guide their members fairly well. ■

Pimm Reveals Intent of ALR Proposals to O&V By G  ary Symons with files from Ronda Payne The biggest question in BC farming today is what will happen to the Agricultural Land Reserve: Now, a recent Orchard and Vine interview with Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm may provide some of the answers. Pimm and his Liberal colleagues have been under fire since the Globe and Mail acquired secret, cabinet documents detailing the Liberal MLA's plan to ‘modernize’ the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). Just before that document was leaked, Pimm told Orchard and Vine he wants to loosen rules in most of BC, while possibly tightening the rules in the Okanagan and Fraser valleys. The document is known as a “Cabinet Decision Summary Sheet,” and was prepared for Pimm’s signature. It details his request to cabinet to “Modernize the ALC to ensure that government’s priorities for economic development are reflected in ALC decisions, and to improve service levels for applicants.” The document lists the primary changes Pimm would like to make in the way the ALC operates: • “Develop the necessary policy, regulatory and legislative amendments to: • Modernize ALC decision making to reflect government priorities. • Create two ALR areas with different rules. • Change the ALC’s legislative mandate, in one or both ALR areas • Remove some decisions from the ALC. • Community growth applications decided by local governments. • Modernize ALC operations by moving the ALC into the Ministry.” That alone would have stirred the pot for supporters of the ALR, but an accompanying document put that pot onto a rapid boil. That document, among other

things, proposed giving equal weight to ‘economic development’ as opposed to agriculture, making the Oil and Gas Commission the primary authority over land use decisions, and creating two different agricultural zones. The Fraser Valley and Okanagan would remain relatively strict, but everywhere else would be in a zone “Where the rules will be ‘anything goes’.” Not surprisingly, the chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, Richard Bullock, has come out swinging. He accused the Liberals of planning to gut the ALR regulations, and said

was more open with Orchard and Vine before the document was leaked. “When I became Agriculture Minister I had a mandate to look at the ALR to make sure it’s working for BC,” Pimm argues. “We’re going to be proposing some things, and certainly we want to get some facts on the table as to what’s happening.” Pimm denies he is planning on weakening agricultural protection for productive land. Particularly in the south, he says those protections may be strengthened.

We’ve had enough of this business where people buy farmland and sit on it, hoping it will turn into a lottery ticket. Richard Bullock

the ALR has close to universal support among farmers. “We’ve had enough of this business where people buy farmland and sit on it, hoping it will turn into a lottery ticket,” he says. Before the ALC was put in place by the NDP, an average of 6,000 hectares was taken out of agricultural production every year in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan Valley. In 2010, only 364 hectares was removed from the ALR province wide. In 2011 the number was up to 632, but only three hectares of that was in the Lower Mainland. Supporters of the ALR say there simply wouldn't be a vibrant agricultural industry without a strong and independent Agricultural Land Commission. While Bennett has refused to go into detail about the proposed changes, Pimm

“In the Lower Mainland, I don’t think the land has been preserved enough,” he said. “We certainly protect it in rural areas, but it’s very important that we look after the most productive lands (in the Fraser Valley and Okanagan). “I think that we need to make a real strong statement that those lands are going to stay in it so that we have strong farming production. If anything, we may have to tighten up further in those most productive areas.” However, Pimm also argues that much of the ALR land in other parts of the province is not actually productive. “You can’t grow much on rocks and so we may see less protection on the rocks in the ALR,” he said. “If there’s land that shouldn’t be in the ALR, we should be talking about that.” ■ Year End 2013 25


What happened in grapes, wine, a 26 Year End 2013

Photo by Dmytro Nikitin |

apples, cherries, berries & more‌

Year End 2013 27

Photo by Lijuan Guo |


By Darcy Nybo Chris Pollock, Marketing Manager for BC Tree Fruits, noted farmers didn’t have to endure the extreme rains they had last year; however, 2013 was not without tribulations. “We had frost and hail in the Vernon area, hail in Summerland, frost in the south and hail in Kelowna and Oliver,” says Pollock. “The good news is, for the apples that did survive, the sizing was huge!” The volume of apples received by BC Tree Fruits in 2013 was down, not only due to bad weather, but also because some growers have elected to ship their fruit to the United States for packaging. “All varieties were down in volume,” explained Pollock, “however, it’s proportionate. Gala is the same percentage of the crop as it was in previous years, as are all varieties. The Ambrosia apples were much larger this year, about the same as two years ago. Our McIntosh crop this year is good quality too.”

28 Year End 2013

The good news is for the apples that did survive, the sizing was huge! Chris Pollock Last year, BC Tree Fruits sold 3 million cartons to the fresh market and this year they are estimating 2 million cartons. “We have less small fruit this year so it provided some creative stumbling blocks for us,” says Pollock. “We usually put smaller fruit in bags, but if we have less smaller fruit it provides us with some challenges. The larger fruit, which is bulk, went to our larger retail partners. ”

ada and when we are down the volume that we are, we want to make sure we supply our customers here,” says Pollock. “We still have programs with specific retailers in the United States and other export markets such as South-East Asia for items like McIntosh, Ambrosia and Gala. However, we want to make sure we work with all our Western Canadian retailers first.”

The 2013 market for Okanagan apples is mostly Western Canada. “There is a possibility for some partnerships that may result in some movement to Eastern Canada but our main focus is Western Can-

Glen Lucas, BCFGA General Manager concurs it was a great year for quality, if not quantity. “Early frost and hail did make for a lighter crop this year and it affected different

varieties in different locations. We also had a highly unusual early post-blossom hail in the Vernon area that we’d never seen before. It was difficult because many growers were unable to buy their crop insurance because of how early the hail came. Normally crop insurance can’t be purchased until the crop has set. The hail happened at the same time as farmers were preparing to go out and get their hail insurance.”

What I’d like to see is to get production insurance and hail insurance at the same time, Jeet Dukhia

There were also freak hailstorms in late summer leading up to harvest both in south Kelowna and a couple weeks later in Oliver. “These were highly unusual hails,” says Lucas. “They actually damaged the trees. It was fairly localized, but for the growers it hit, it was devastating.” BCFGA estimates 160 million pounds of apples will be harvested in 2013, down from 178 million in 2012. This includes all fruits in cartons, independent packers, people who sent their product down to the U.S. for packaging, and culled product. Photo by Stephanie Symons

Staying Ahead of the Competition Approximately 12 million pounds of apples were sent to the U.S. for packaging that went to the coop in previous years. As every farmer knows, B.C.’s main competition for apples comes from Washington State. “The growth in apples in Washington State over the last 30 years has been a major competition for us,” says Lucas. “It pays for us to specialize in Canada. Ambrosia is where we have some protection from Washington State as there is a limited amount of Ambrosia that can be planted there (due to legal restrictions).” “That protection lasts a few more years so that will be one of the more attractive varieties for B.C. producers. The main opportunity is with Ambrosia; that plus Honey Crisp, Gala and Cripps Pink (Pink Lady) are four main varieties for growth here. In my observation, because Ambrosia has an additional control on it, growers need to take that into account as it being an additional opportunity for them.” Insurance Changes Needed The BCFGA’s president, Jeet Dukhia, grows apples and cherries on his farm outside of Vernon. “We got hit with hail

Apples from the North Okanagan show damage from an early season hail storm.

in May this year and the few growers that went to get hail insurance before the hail were refused because the fruit wasn’t set yet. Then it hailed and we couldn’t get insurance because our fruit had been damaged,” says Dukhia. “My neighbours have a new orchard and lost about 40% of their crop. They needed a five-year production record but because they are newly planted, they didn’t have that information. They were wiped out as it severely damaged their trees as well. There were also 200 acres in Oliver that had trees damaged and 700 acres in SE Kelowna where trees were completely destroyed.” It takes approximately two years to get an orchard back into good condition, which means these farmers will have to wait until 2015 to see any type of return.

“We were expecting 235,000 bins and we are down to 135,000,” says Dukhia, who has approached the agriculture minister and is working on meetings with the crop insurance industry. “What I’d like to see is (the ability) to get production insurance and hail insurance at the same time,” he explains. “Guys with young trees (under five years) with low production should be able to have someone come out and check the orchard and then get hail insurance based on a visual examination. "I would like to see other things as well," Dukhia adds. "For example, if we have 50% damage in the spring, there is no sense to keep spending money on the orchard, so we’d like a write-off point at about 50%.” ■

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A BERRY GOOD ROAD TRIP By Ronda Payne In B.C. we are lucky that from early summer to late fall, road trips include the delicious taste of locally grown berries. Take a figurative road trip now with Orchard & Vine as we look at how those berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries – performed this year. Some went the distance and beyond, while others fell short of their anticipated destination. The first to arrive are strawberries and this year’s crop definitely went the distance with estimates showing a rise in production, according to Sharmin Gamiet, association manager of the BC Strawberry Growers Association. Fresh berry quantities are expected to come in 10 to 15 per cent higher when compared to 2012. Processed strawberries will also see an increase of about 10 per cent. “I’m feeling very optimistic,” Gamiet says. “I think the fresh producers have reason to be optimistic, the ever-bearing varieties are working well for the growers.” The weather, while ideal for road trips, impacted some of the earlier ever-bearing crop with an unusually long, hot, dry stretch, but this also worked to extend the season for many producers who were still picking at Halloween. June berries started early with the warm spring, but when the road trip weather turned to rain it truncated the season. On the administrative front, let’s take a detour to Quebec, home of the growers

association taking the lead on the proposed national strawberry council. “It’s moving forward,” Gamiet says. “(The Quebec council is) preparing to submit a request to the Farm Products Council of Canada in the New Year.” A little later in the season, when the unusual period of hot dry weather appeared, raspberries began their trip from field to market. Sadly, they didn’t quite go the distance this year, with an estimated drop to 16 million pounds from last year’s 18 million pounds, which unfortunately was a decrease from the year before as well. Gamiet, who also serves as the executive director of BC Raspberry Growers, notes the decline wasn’t entirely unexpected. “Acreages were converted to other crops and, during the early season, growers had challenges with diseases and pests,” she notes. This year’s wildly variable weather caused mould in early varieties and scald in later ones. Those who avoided these issues had excellent berries if they were able to keep the spotted wing drosophila under control. “It showed you need to be on top of this pest,” Gamiet says. “If you picked frequently, the challenge wouldn’t have been so great and if you’d been able to spray early and keep at it, it helped mitigate the problem.” Like their cousins the strawberries, raspberry growers are in the early stages of forming a national council as they take their road trip to Ottawa for the next

You need to be on top of the pest, if you picked frequently the challenge wouldn't have been so great. Sharmin Gamiet 30 Year End 2013

Good weather during pollination equals lots of fruit set to take advantage of all that sunshine.

Mike Wallis round of hearings. Gamiet feels the process has gone well so far. Blueberries had a bumpy ride this year, keeping growers shy of their destination. Debbie Etsell, executive director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, comments that challenges at the beginning of the season affected pollination and fruit set. It is uncertain what caused the problems, but Etsell proposes there is the possibility that plants may not have “shut down” over the moderate winter. “We’re estimating around 107 million pounds,” she notes of the year’s production, well down from last year’s 120 million pounds. Another concern was what Etsell describes as a “blue wall” where early and mid-season varieties were blooming and ripening at the same time. “It made it harder for the bees to get to everything,” she says. Etsell also notes the long, dry stretch of heat created berries of excellent quality, but the “blue wall” caused all the berries to be ready at the same time. “There was a lot of fruit coming through at once,” she says. “This pushed the limits of our packing and processing facilities.”

Photo by Dusan Kostic |

Adding to the blue wall was the fact that the top five North American blueberry growing regions had fruit on the market at the same time. As one can imagine, this created a pricing challenge.

“I’ve never seen this happen before,” says Etsell about the convergence of fruit from all regions. Like raspberries, the spotted wing drosophila was a problem for those growers who didn’t pick continuously.

thing was ripe,” Etsell says. “They had to pick with reasonable management times and just had to keep at it. Some of the growers who pulled out their raspberries turned to blueberries, but it will be a few years before returns are realized on that strategy. “This is quite an investment for the raspberry growers because you don’t get anything coming in for production until the third year,” Etsell notes. “We are seeing more acres going in from existing growers. There’s a lot of continuing planting of blueberries. What is puzzling me is the amount of acreage still going in when something happens like this (the blue wall). That’s not to say something like this won’t happen again.” The last berry on the road trip schedule is the cranberry. With harvests so late in the season, numbers aren’t yet available, but early predictions from Mike Wallis, executive director of the BC Cranberry Growers Association, are for an equal or greater volume to that of 2012’s 94 million pounds. “Good weather during pollination equals lots of fruit set to take advantage of all that sunshine,” Wallis says. Recently planted fields becoming viable for production also contributed to the potential of an increase in yield. The only pest of concern was the emerging tipworm. While it impacts a crop’s ability to produce fruit the following year, it was no more significant than past years. A road trip is only as good as the weather and the berries available on the way. Overall this past year was a pretty good roadtrip for berry producers, with a few nasty bumps on the road for some. ■

“(Growers) couldn’t wait until every

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CHERRIES & MORE… By Darcy Nybo The 2013 growing season gave cherry farmers a break from the rains of 2012. “It was a very good year in terms of quality and size of fruit,” says Chris Pollock, marketing manager for BC Tree Fruits. "Cherries went a lot smoother than the year before. It was a very good year in terms of quality and size of fruit.” The growing season was not without challenges as there was frost in the south early in the bloom season, but overall fruit from south, central, and north Okanagan areas as well as Creston was of great quality.

Photo by Ewa Niwczyk |

The numbers for cherries were slightly down for 2013 due to the loss in the south, but after the dust settled there were five million pounds harvested, compared to 5.8 million in 2012. “The returns to the growers were higher this year as we had an export program this year with Sutherland SA Produce who distribute fruit throughout Asia,” says Pollock. “That program was definitely a success and allowed us to access markets we weren’t allowed to access before.” Jeet Dukhia, President of the BCFGA, agrees that selling overseas is great for local farmers. “By selling our fruits overseas it takes the pressure off of the local domestic markets so there isn’t a glut of product, and prices stay fair for farmers.” He also noted later varieties like Staccato and Sweetheart cherries did quite well this year, while early varieties like Bing and Titan did not fair as well.

The export program was definitely a success and allowed us to access markets we weren’t allowed to access before. Chris Pollock

The Upside of Down

from 1.1 million in 2012.

Most of the Okanagan’s soft fruit comes from the southern regions and was hit by the same frost that hit the cherries. “We were down in all fruits this year, except apricots, which was steady,” says Pollock. “Peaches were down to 2.5 million, whereas 2012 was 3.1 million pounds received. The quality was good this year despite the lower volume.”

Apricots were down to 130,000 from 212,000 pounds in 2012. The fruit that was harvested was of a high quality.

Nectarines were down to 360,000 pounds in 2013, way under the 575,000 pounds that were harvested in 2012. Prunes and plums took a dive as well and weighed in at just less than 950,000 pounds, down 32 Year End 2013

On the upside of a year with lower volume, BC Tree Fruits was able to sell peaches at a little higher price this year. Andrew, Bartlett and Bosc pears were up from 2012’s 5,500 bins, to some 6,800 bins despite hail damage in the Kelowna region. Elsewhere In Washington State, cherries remain king by virtue of value even if the 2013

crop was much smaller than the year before. Washington packed out 285 million pounds of cherries. Huge as that is in comparison to the B.C. crop, it was down 36% from the record-breaking 2012 crop of 446 million pounds. For growers everywhere the bonus from smaller crops were generally higher prices. The frost last year in Ontario devastated peach farmers who lost more than half of their blossoms. This year was a bit easier on the peach crop with hailstorms that left some marks on the fruit, and like B.C., despite the lower volume, the fruit was of a high quality. ■

GRAPES: CRYING IN OUR MERLOT By Devon Brooks The harvest for 2013 is mostly in. Grape harvests are up from 2012 and quality is said to be superior to the last two years. Miles Prodan, executive director of the BC Wine Institute says, “The positive note from us is the quantity and quality from this vintage is very good.” Manfred Freese of the BC Grapegrowers Association is also enthusiastic about this year’s crop, saying, “I think the quality is outstanding, especially for many of the red varieties.” The B.C. wine industry is taking more of the domestic sales market this year than last so it’s good news all around. Almost. As the industry grows many farmers have piled onto the wine industry bandwagon. Some of have done well, but others may have guessed wrongly about what grapes to plant. Freese says, “Too many farmers don’t do their homework.” This year merlot production was much higher than demand and the price is correspondingly low. Around half of BC's grape growers have contracts for their production, which give both buyer and seller some protection in terms of price. The half without contracts has to rely on their ability to predict what will happen, sales skills and luck. Freese says, “Some farmers will suffer a lot.”

There are fads, but there are certain core varieties where there will always be demand. Manfred Freese says, “You grow through fads and merlot is definitely old news.” Instead, he says, consumers are going pink. “As far as the consumer goes there is definitely a trend to rosé. Pink is big and sparkling is growing. We make our pink wine from Pinot Noir.”

Growth on every Front When Freese started growing grapes in 2004 there were 232 growers. BC Wine Institute numbers show that year a harvest of 16,642 tons produced 9,985,200 litres of wine. Last year 27,257 tons of

Across the Strait of Georgia, snuggled in downtown Vancouver, is the Swirl VQA shop. Michelle Lemay is almost contemptuous. “I think people have had enough of merlot,” she declares. “I think cabernet franc is going to be THE grape of B.C. in the next few years.” Freese says the mismatch between growers and buyers isn’t purely a merlot story. He says, “There were some other varieties also looking for a home like chardonnay and pinot gris.”

He predicts 33,500 tons of grapes grown this year, and merlot is the single largest planting, making up 40% of the red crop. In past years reds have made up 52% of the crop and if those statistics hold true this year it means a merlot harvest of 7,000 tons.

Photo by Gajus |

Freese points out, “There are fads, but there are certain core varieties where there will always be demand.” He feels confident the merlot surplus won’t last. “The surplus could go on for another two or three years, but that could change very quickly. In the longer term there is no question we will be able to absorb the [merlot] crop.” Devlin McIntyre is the owner of Salt Spring Vineyards. He is less confident. He

Year End 2013 33

grapes were used to produce 17,717,200 litres of wine, almost double. This year Freese predicts the harvest will be in the neighbourhood of 33,500 tons, which is an increase of 20% over 2012. B.C. wines are also growing in the allimportant metric of market share. VQA wine sales grew this year by 4.04 per cent, compared to 3.85 per cent for nonVQA wine sales. While that percentage isn’t nearly as great as increases from other jurisdictions (top three growth rates in B.C. wine sales: New Zealand 14.8% growth, Spain 11.8% growth, U.S. 11.5% growth), the percentage growth hides the fact that B.C. wines are now the top sellers in the province by far. In total sales, BC's non-VQA wines account for 23.9% of sales and BC VQA another 19.2%, giving a total of 43.1% of B.C.’s wine sales to B.C. wineries. Looking Ahead A major factor facing the wine industry is a global slump in production. A study by Morgan Stanley Research suggests

global wine production will continue to fall, as it has every year since 2004. Production and consumption met a happy balance in 2010, but since then consumption has been relatively flat while production continues to go down. Overall, since 2004, one-quarter of Europe’s production has disappeared.

Other heavy weights in the industry have flatlined, and while Canadian wine production is growing, it is still a tiny portion of the overall market. Clearly, in the coming years, the 'wine shortage' will increase, and will likely result in higher short-term prices for producers.■

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Attention Producers: Producers who are enrolled in the AgriStability program please note:


The final deadline to submit your 2012 AgriStability/AgriInvest Harmonized form (with penalty) is December 31st 2013. The penalty for late filing AgriStability is $500.00 per month to a maximum of $1500.00. Please note* A late filing penalty will only be applied if a 2012 benefit is issued. If no benefit is received the penalty will not be charged to your account. Producers who miss the December 31st 2013 deadline will not be eligible for a benefit in the 2012 program year. If you have any questions please contact AgriStability at 1-877-343-2767 and speak to your regional Customer Service Representative. Website: AGRISTABILITY REGIONAL OFFICES 200 1500 Hardy St Kelowna, BC V1Y 8H2

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34 Year End 2013

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A 2013 Wine Industry Timeline By Michael Botner Looking back at the year reveals a mixed bag of events, announcements and approvals that point to positive progress for most stakeholders in the B.C. wine industry. A Late Start

Photos contributed

January 11 and 12 – BCWI announces start of Icewine harvest at 10:30 PM on January 11, considerably later than 2012 vintage, which started on November 19. While these dates represent the majority of the harvest, some Icewine grapes were harvested in the wee hours of January 1, 2013. All Tied Up in Legal Restrictions February 8 – B.C. government announces liquor law and regulation reforms for some small or medium-sized wineries and distilleries in the province: • A tied house exemption is now available for small or medium-sized wineries that have a financial relationship with up to three retail level licensees, such as a bar, restaurant, private liquor store or caterer. Conditions still apply; for example, only wineries producing less than 750,000 litre are eligible and licensees would have to offer a range of products. While a positive step, the reforms will affect only a few wineries such as Carbrea on Hornby Island, which has been prevented from selling their wine in the family lodge, a few miles away. • A mark-up exemption for direct delivery of spirits made from 100% B.C. ingredients to licensees and consumers provide a much-needed financial incentive for B.C. distillers such as Okanagan Spirits of Vernon and Kelowna and Maple Leaf Spirits of Penticton. Too Many and Too Few Laws February 25 – The 2013 Wine Law in British Columbia Conference offered sessions on a variety of topics for stakeholders in virtually all sectors of the industry. Two of a dozen or so were particularly relevant: • In a session called ‘Freezing the Flood’, Christopher S. Wilson of Bull Housser

Political big wheels: Naramata wine growers stage tractor protest convoy in July to push for acceptance of intraprovincial shipping for wine across Canada.

Okanagan Spirits distillery is part of a new wave of alcohol producers further diversifying the use of BC fruits and other produce.

Tinhorn Creek’s Sandra Oldfield was one of 250 who attended the first international Wine Bloggers Conference ever to be held in Canada.

addressed the matter of rampant counterfeiting of Canadian Icewine, Canada’s top wine export, especially to China, perhaps the world’s fastest growing wine market. There is no national standard for Canadian Icewine, only provincial ones that carry little or no weight in nationto-nation negotiations, so seeking a so-

lution through trade negotiations is not a viable option.

• The session on Land Use Regulation in B.C. given by Max Collett of Bull Housser described how a “complex, multilayered web of laws, by-laws, policies and practices” can stifle growth. For grape growers, the list includes the AgriculYear End 2013 35

Far and Wide June 6-8 – The 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference brings 250 wine bloggers from across North America to Penticton. A first for B.C., it showcased wine and food of the Okanagan Valley to the fastest growing, and one of the most influential, segments of the media. About 25% of the participants were from the B.C. wine industry: independent wine writers, authors, winemakers, winery owners, PR folks and marketing consultants. The other three quarters were from outside the province, providing a unique opportunity to get the word out about B.C. product.

Photo by Michael Botner

Icewine Regulations to the Rescue

Summerhills’ CEO Ezra Cipes is able to enjoy a glass of beer at the winery’s bistro, after receiving a Food Primary license.

tural Land Commission Act, Farm Practices Protection Act, Environmental Management Act, Water Act and Land Act. In the case of a winery restaurant, like Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek in Oliver, there are more layers: BC Liquor Control & Licensing, BC Liquor Control & Distribution, regional government and local First Nations. Required to operate with a restrictive winery lounge restaurant, not a restaurant primary license, because of ALR “land-use” restrictions, Miradoro cannot serve local beer, spirits or wine from other jurisdictions. Revenge of the PST April 1 – Return of PST heralded an increase in certain taxes on wine: • A 3% increase of sales tax at the border from 12% to 15%. • Wine purchased direct from B.C. wineries are subject to a higher mark-up. • Wine purchased in restaurants/hotels/bars are subject to a combined tax rate of 15%, up from 12%.


June 15 – The Government of Canada proposed regulatory amendments aiming to create a national standard for Icewine. According to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency newsletter, the new standard will benefit exporters by allowing greater market access without having to redesign their labels for each individual country’s requirements, and help prevent the sale of fraudulent Icewine. Local Politics July 10 – Christy Clark’s win in the Kelowna-Westside by-election could be good for the wine industry. The first premier to represent an Okanagan riding since Bill Bennett’s tenure, Clark heads a province with a far bigger and more confident wine industry. Vowing to modernize B.C.’s antiquated liquor laws, the cabinet launched a wide-ranging review of the system. ‘A’ for Effort July 11 – Don Albas and Ron Canaan receive BCWI’s inaugural Industry Recognition Award for work on Bill C-311, which received Royal Assent in 2012. Most provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, have been slow to get on board. Free the Grapes July 18 – Okanagan wineries send a message to Victoria with a parade of tractors from the Naramata Bench to MLA Dan Ashton’s office in Pentcton. They brought wine for B.C. premier Christy Clark, to take it to the July 24 Premier’s conference at Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.

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July 24 – B.C. Premier Christy Clark brought the gift of wine and her support for reviewing Canadian wine laws to the Premier’s conference at Niagara-On-TheLake, Ontario. Mother Nature’s Fury August 12 – A violent, 15-minute hail storm battered growers in East Kelowna, causing extensive damage to three vineyards: Sperling’s Pioneer Ranch, Spierhead and The View. Over summer and fall many Okanagan growers were hit by swarms of wasps, followed by infections of bunch rot, diminishing the prospects for a bumper harvest. Early Overtures August 27 – Jackson-Triggs Okanagan starts harvesting Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Bull Pine Estate Vineyard on Osoyoos Lake Bench, the earliest date reported in the South Okanagan. Beer for Wineries September 6-26 – A coveted Food Primary license for Summerhill’s Sunset Organic Bistro allows full service of wine beer and spirits; a first for a winery restaurant situated on land governed by the Agricultural Land Commission Act. After initial rejections, the commission finally approved a “Non-Farm Use” exemption, specifically for operating the bistro.

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Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek in Oliver is the second winery restaurant inside the ALR to receive a Food Primary license. Attaining the license was a cooperative effort between Tinhorn Creek and the relevant government bodies, including the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, the Agricultural Land Commission, and the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Commission, according to Sandra Oldfield, Tinhorn Creek’s proprietor and winemaker.


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A Sensible Start October 2 – B.C. Wine Information Society donates $300,000 to Okanagan College for a new, classroom-style sensory lab at the Penticton campus, the first educational facility of its type in the Okanagan Valley. Similar to those already in existence at Brock University and Niagara College in Ontario, “This sensory lab will demonstrates how important the relationship is between the college and the industry,” said OC president Jim Hamilton. ■

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Year End 2013 37

Scott Laboratories Introduces Velcorin Newly approved anti-microbial product allows winemakers to curb in-bottle fermentation, without affecting taste


very winemaker knows that fermentation in the bottle is one of the most common ways a wine can be ruined after release to the public. Unfortunately, many of the practices used to prevent in-bottle fermentation can also affect a wine’s taste, bouquet and colour. Now, Health Canada has approved the use of Velcorin® (dimethyldicarbonate/ DMDC), a microbial control agent produced by LANXESS, for use in the production of wine in Canada. Applications: • To help prevent refermentation in finished wines: Wines containing residual sugar are susceptible to fermentation in the bottle, which can lead to haze, off-odors, offflavors and effervescence. Adding VELCORIN to wine during bottling can help prevent refermentation. Also, the product VELCORIN can be used to replace or decrease sorbate, which is sometimes used in wines containing residual sugar. • To control spoilage yeast such as Brettanomyces (especially in unfiltered or moderately filtered wines): Brettanomyces is able to metabolize sugars, including cellobiose from toasted barrels, leading to the evolution of 4-ethylphenol and other undesirable sensory attributes. VELCORIN is very effective against Brettanomyces. • To decrease the amount of sulfur dioxide used in wines: Sulfur dioxide, used in combination with VELCORIN technology, has been shown to achieve microbial stability at lower overall sulfur dioxide levels. • To reduce warehouse holding time in early-to-market wines: VELCORIN technology can be used to decrease the amount of sulfur dioxide and/or decrease the degree of filtration required. Such wines undergo speedier sulfur dioxide equilibration and can be released earlier.

38 Year End 2013

•T  o prevent refermentation in wines for bulk transport:

Are there any limits in respect to product packaging?

Recently, certain European countries and companies have moved to minimize or eliminate the use of sorbate in wines. VELCORIN, a microbial control agent, has been used in lieu of sorbate, at the point of bulk container filling to prevent refermentation of wines containing residual sugar.

Velcorin can be used for filling into standard packaging such as glass, PET, cans, bag-in-box or pouches, as well as during production, temporary storage or transport in a container.

• To replace hot filling process and tunnel pasteurization: Microbiologic sensitive wines may be bottled by temperature up to 150°F to prevent refermentation or products filled in cans may be pasteurized which stresses the product and affects its properties whereas VELCORIN is added at usual cellar temperature. Frequently Asked Questions: How does VELCORIN work? VELCORIN controls microorganisms by entering the cell and inactivating some of the key enzymes required for cell function. Specifically, VELCORIN is thought to react with the histidyl residues of proteins, including those involved in the active site of many enzymes. Susceptible enzymes are consequently rendered functionless due to blockage of the active site and/or conformational changes in structure. Excess VELCORIN then completely hydrolyzes in the presence of water. What factors determine VELCORIN effectiveness? The effectiveness of VELCORIN technology depends on microbial type, microbial load and other factors. At low doses, VELCORIN is very effective against yeast. At greater doses, VELCORIN is also effective against bacteria and certain fungi. Pre-treatment of wine must reduces the microbial load to less than 500 microorganisms/mL. That said, VELCORIN is not a replacement for good sanitation practices. How much VELCORIN can I use in my wine? Health Canada permits up to 200 ppm total of VELCORIN to be used in wine, dealcoholized wine and low-alcohol wine.

Why do I have to use an approved dosing system? Due to the unique physical properties of VELCORIN and to help assure safe handling, LANXESS Corp. requires the use of VELCORIN DT dosing machines. VELCORIN is hydrophobic and solidifies at 17°C(63°F). The dosing machines are engineered expressly for VELCORIN (to prevent solidification and aid in VELCORIN solubility. Temperature controls, specific safety features and a special metering system, are also incorporated into the design. I don’t have a VELCORIN-dosing machine. How can I use VELCORIN technology to treat my wine? Mobile VELCORIN-dosing service has proven very popular within the United States. Currently several businesses have expressed an interest in the mobile dosing of VELCORIN within Canada. Please call our office (800-797-2688) to learn more about mobile dosing within your region. Is VELCORIN-treated wine approved in other countries? DMDC is approved by the codex alimentarious as a processing aid for wine as well as a recognized oenological practice by OIV (International Organization of Vines and Wine). VELCORIN approval is product and country specific. Of the approximately 60 countries that currently allow VELCORIN product treatment for wine include: United States, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Mexico, European Union member states, Russia, New Zealand and South Africa. Scott Laboratories is the exclusive distributor of VELCORIN within Canada’s wine industry. Please contact your Scott Laboratories Sales Representative, or our office at 1-800-797-2688 to learn more about the benefits of VELCORIN.

Photo contributed.

B.C. Opens Canada’s Only Cranberry Research Farm

It doesn’t look like much now with only stakes to indicate where new plants have been placed on the Delta cranberry research farm, but after two years the test plants will be well on their way to showing their strengths and weaknesses for cranberry farmers.

By Grant Ullyot B.C. Cranberry growers were elated to hear their industry is developing the first ever cranberry research farm in Canada. The idea for the farm, says former B.C. Agriculture Minister John Savage of Delta, came from Jack Wessel, the general manager of the BC Cranberry Marketing Commission. “Jack became aware that Gateway Construction, who were building the South Fraser Perimeter Road through Delta, had surplus bog land and he asked me if I thought there was a chance we might get some of it on which to build a cranberry research facility,” explains Savage.

“I then contacted Gateway officials and other key government people, including (former) Agriculture Minister Steve Thomson and Highways Minister Shirley Bond, all of whom were enthusiastic about the idea. Discussions led to our reaching an agreement with Gateway to purchase a 20-acre piece of highway right-of-way on which to place the farm.” Savage says the key goal was to establish a research operation that would allow the industry to evaluate the different varieties grown in the Richmond to Pitt Meadows area and new varieties from other growing areas in North America.

BC Cranberry Association’s Mike Wallis at the new research facility in Richmond, B.C.


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Year End 2013 39

Mike Wallis, executive director of the BC Cranberry Association, says there is no comparison in planting a commercial bog to planting a research bog. ‘Everything at the research farm must be done in detail and every move recorded. While this makes it a very time consuming task, the long term benefits make it all worthwhile.â€? Overall the research farm has five bogs. Each bog is about two-and-a-half acres in size and is serviced by an underground water distribution system. At present water is being pumping from a well in Delta through an irrigation canal to the farm, but that will change once electrical power is installed and a pumping station and storage pond are built on the farm. Current experimental plantings include some varieties from Rutgers University in New Jersey, which were planted last June in small test plots. In another bog four different local varieties are planted in much larger, quarter-acre plots. It takes about three years before a test plant produces a cranberry. There are plans to hold field days at the farm over the next year or two, where growers can see what progress the different types of cranberry varieties are making in the Lower Mainland climate and growing conditions, what their yield potential is, and whether any new diseases have emerged. The cranberry crop in B.C. is valued at over $23M with 2,500 acres planted. About half of that is monitored and controlled by IPM (Integrated Pest Management) consultants. While there are several different diseases to be found in North American crops, only viscid rot and phtyophthora are of any concern in B.C. at this time. Control measures are in place for both. The research farm will also do fertility work, pesticide research, pesticide screening and nutrient management planning on the different varieties. Growing conditions were excellent for B.C. cranberries this year and estimates suggest the 2013 harvest could be as large as 95 million pounds, the largest ever. Now, with a dedicated cranberry research farm, the future for the industry looks even more promising. â–

40 Year End 2013


B.C. Reviews Laws Governing Liquor everyday British Columbians to participate in the process and have their ideas and concerns heard and addressed. After these two phases, a report was submitted in late November to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and released to the public about any proposed changes.


aws are like a mirror that reflect the society they govern. When laws become outdated, they are no longer respected and become difficult to enforce. Laws that impact the public safety and health of citizens should stay up-to-date, which includes liquor laws that should be amended to reflect current trends in the social sector. However, as is the case with our liquor laws, needed changes are sometimes slow to occur and interested parties must lobby government to make them happen. We are now starting to see the benefits of such efforts to make changes to our liquor laws. In early June, the British Columbia provincial government announced its plan to review and update the liquor laws of British Columbia. There will be two phases to the review. The first began in August with requests for feedback sent to key industry groups and stakeholders. The second phase lasted from September 1 to October 31, with the creation of a website for public opinion and discussion. This type of interactive, public involvement process allows

The review is to modernize liquor laws so they allow for consumer convenience and economic growth, while still protecting public safety and the health of British Columbians. A major review of liquor laws has not occurred since 1999, and that review did not include a public participation process. This process incorporates the phrase “give the people what they want”, with the intent that changes to the law must be common sense, while weighing the best interest of the liquor industry, government and the citizens. The scope of the review is demonstrated by the number of letters that were sent by the more than 10,000 liquor licensees and liquor agency stores and the numerous groups involved in the process including First Nations, local government and police. The review will consider licensing, distribution, manufacturing and additional issues relating to the wine industry. Laws have historically been amended as a societal reaction to a problem meaning reforms to laws often occur when a problem has been identified. Lawmak-

ers cannot forecast the future, but this review is a step in the right direction for bringing our liquor laws in line with today’s practices and hopefully, support continued growth of the wine industry in British Columbia. If you would like to see what the topics of discussion are, check out the government’s website on liquor policy review at If you wanted to see changes in the liquor laws in British Columbia, this is a participation tool that appeared to allow you the opportunity to have your ideas heard. ■ Denese Espeut-Post is an Okanaganbased lawyer and owns Avery Law Office. Her primary areas of practice include wine and business law. She also teaches the wine law courses at Okanagan College. Nicole Clarke is a summer law student at Avery Law.

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Your Road Map to Farm Succession overnight. It’s a process. It’s a process that should be started years in advance, and it never actually ends. When a farm is transitioned to the next generation, the process begins again.


ith the aging baby boomers ‘Succession Planning’ has become a common topic of conversation. Selling the farm is definitely an option; however, often the farm is being transferred within the family to the next generation. Your farm is more than a business to you; it’s your identity, it’s your lifestyle, it’s your home and it’s your land. You have been in the driver’s seat for many years and handing the keys over to someone else can be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. Certainly, the tax and legal issues need to be resolved in a manner most suitable to the family. But from a family and farm perspective, the single most important element of your succession plan is the transfer of ownership and management. This transfer is not a single event and does not happen

Rather than working on a succession plan, the family needs to work on a plan that will ultimately result in the farm being ‘transitioned’ to the next generation. Here are some of the key steps a farm family needs to work through in planning for the transition to the next generation. The Farm Today and in the Future Discuss where the farm is today and what it might look like in five or ten years. Look at the financial health of the business and set some goals and expectations for the future. The Retirement Plan What role do mom and dad want to play in ongoing farm operations? What cash flow is required to be able support mom and dad in their retirement? Is the farm expected to provide all their retirement cash flow needs, or are there other assets that will generate retirement income?

Training and Development Plan for the Successor Consider what training the next generation needs to be able to successfully take over day to day management of the family farm. What time frame is required for that training to be completed? Farm Business and Operating Plan Based on the information gathered, develop a business plan for the next five years. Ownership Transfer Plan Who is the farm being transferred to, how much will be paid and what is the timing of payment and change of control? Implementation Timetable and Communication Plan Set a timetable for key milestones and set up a plan for communication. One of the most common pitfalls is allowing everyone to be caught up in the day to day operations and failing to communicate once the plan is set. Your transition plan is a “living” document that needs to be reviewed annually and revised for changes in objectives, business fundamentals, tax and estate laws and your personal situation.

The Road Map Transition planning is just part of a longer-term or strategic farm plan that includes a transition of ownership and management to the next generation. It should not be treated as an event or ‘one-off’ plan. A well thought out, properly developed and implemented transition plan will simplify your affairs, provide clarity to everyone involved, reduce overall stress, and maximize the chance of you and your family successfully transitioning the family farm to the next generation. ■ Marsha Stanley, CA•CBV, CGA is the Regional Agriculture Leader for MNP LLP, Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors. For more information, contact Marsha at 250-748-3761 or marsha.

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Don’t Put All your Apples in One Bin ly to get a little more out of it or to make it last just a bit longer, but understand that eventually it will end.

that we should not keep all our apples in one bin. The same scenario applies to marketing your business.

It's an old saying, yet I think at some point we are all guilty of this. We don’t make a back-up plan because we are confident our original plan will succeed. History clearly teaches us this is not usually the case. Most great ideas that have succeeded had failures and modifications along the way. In other words, people spread their apples into different bins to find the one that proved to be the best fruit and then measured and adjusted to develop the successful idea we know today. Keep in mind there were 5,127 prototypes of the Dyson Vacuum before it hit store shelves. (Have you ever used one? Slick!) After he mastered the vacuum world, Dyson then moved on to create other products such as fans and hand dryers (the air blade), again showing

Perhaps the best example of this is phone book advertising.

Relying on one specific marketing stream is not a smart way to go. At any given time you should be combining multiple avenues to market your business. If you find something has a high conversion rate and is giving you a great return on investment (ROI), start putting more apples into it! However, never take all the apples from the other bins. Periodically you need to analyze your marketing efforts. Adjust your resources so that you are putting more into the ones that are providing the best ROI. The key point is to explore different marketing methods (bins) to see how much fruit they bring you.

I know many home service businesses that relied on the phone book for their marketing. In fact, many of them put all of their apples into that marketing plan, and it worked! I owned another company that, at one time, relied on yellow page advertising, although I still tried other avenues. Being a marketing guy, I saw change coming. At that time most small businesses were just starting to explore websites, and no one had a clue who Mark Zuckerberg was (creator of Facebook). Those who didn’t take note were heavily impacted financially, or worse yet, ended up closing their doors.

Everything Good Must Come to an End I love apples! But the season will end and there is only so long apples will stay good in my fridge. With some fine tuning I could preserve them longer and the same is true with your marketing.

Don’t get me wrong. The phone book can still be a useful tool for some businesses, but its ROI for many has dropped significantly as the Internet and social media have exploded.

If you find something that works, fine tune it periodical-

With the introduction of Google ads, search engine results, Facebook ads, email marketing and other online marketing tools, people had to remove some of their apples from yellow page advertising and start putting them into other bins. Which bins for our apples? Do a little research and find out what’s working for others, as well as what’s new and trendy. The important thing is to test and measure each bin. This is where most people fail. They forget to measure their marketing results and don’t actually know which bin is most effective. Also know that just because something didn’t work once, doesn’t mean it can’t work in the future with some finetuning, testing and measuring. Next issue I will get into some creative ways to measure results. Mike Cooper is the owner of Black Mountain Media. See what Black Mountain does at www.blackmountainmedia. ca or send Mike a note at mike@blackmountainmedia. ca. You can also call: 778-214-0519.

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Creston Family Profits From 'Fruit of Their Labour' We returned to the World Juice Awards this year in Cologne, Germany with our red apple juice and came back winners again – this time we placed second in the category ‘Best New Nectar or Juice’.


e are cherry growers and processors here in Creston, B.C. Five years ago, we anticipated the decline of the fresh market and began researching value-added opportunities for our fruit and invented and designed a new proprietary juice extraction machine. In 2009 tremendous rain storms that split 200,000 pounds of fruit on the trees catapulted our need to commercialize our juice business to the forefront. In 2010 we won funding from the B.C. Innovations Council CAT Commercialization of Agricultural Technology competition, which we used to bring our products to market. In 2012 we nervously took our black cherry juice onto the world stage at the World Juice Awards in Spain and were blown away when we won the ‘Best Pure Juice Product’ award.

The wonderful thing was that the other company that won was a Canadian company as well – Haskapa from Nova Scotia, with a truly new juice made from the haskap berry. It was so great to have two Canadian companies standing together as the top two in the awards. Attendees numbered close to 350 participants from 55 countries including many of the top juice companies in the world and those corporations and agencies that support the juice industry – it truly was the world of juice. Loss of Farmers Worldwide The conference covered much more than who had the best new juices or marketing campaigns, however. Presentation after presentation described a worldwide problem of decreasing numbers of farmers due to their inability to make a decent living. In our little valley of Creston we have lost half of

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the fruit growers we had last year and more have told us they are giving up farming completely. At last year’s conference we were disappointed that they didn’t focus more on the farmers. We wondered if the declining number of farmers was particular to our region or country, but this year it was evident that it’s not just North America, but the world as well. We were used as an example during one of the keynote speeches by a large processor from Chile who spoke about the general need to increase the price of food. Our concern is that when the price of food increases, that increase is not passed down to the farmer, but remains in the value chain above the farmer. Discussions on this problem included leaders in the industry from multimillion dollar processors in Spain, Chile, Denmark, and India, senior representatives from the worldwide Fair Trade organization, and senior representatives from U.K Walmart and others from all over the world.

We were awed that these people in a room were interested in what we had to say. “The world” listened intently to us as we answered their questions. They wanted to know our experiences and reasons for stepping up one rung in the value chain ladder, and they recognized our story as being one of desperation to save the family farm. We asked them to invest in agriculture and more specifically, the farmer themselves, to ensure that the farmer is profiting and thereby giving back to the economy of their respective countries. A large processor from Spain stated the solution should be more corporate farms and the streamlining of operations through these large entities, but fortunately that was only one opinion. It was so refreshing and hit close to the heart to hear all but one of the major players speak out in defense of the small rural farmer and not the corporate farms. One wonderful man from India said India paid their farmers first. He said dairy farmers in India

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used to be the poorest in the country – that many could not even afford to have their own families drink the milk they produced. But little by little, they formed a cooperative service that picked up the milk from farmers, even if it was just one cup of milk. The milk was chilled or turned into cheese and then sold. These farmers soon became the richest in India and India’s production of milk and cheese increased significantly. Most importantly the economy of the country improved because the farmer was giving back to the community they lived in by purchasing goods and services. All this was from supporting the farmer. Could it really be that simple? World Water Supply Another major concern is the developing shortage of water in many countries. It was suggested the next wars could very well be fought over water. One keynote speaker noted that Egypt had huge air conditioned facilities for the cows, which requires water for their operations as well as drinking water for the cows. The estimates are that where there was once hundreds of years of water, there is now only a century of water left. Saudi Arabia is not building any more factories because of decreasing water supplies. Some countries, currently experiencing bad air and water quality, are buying large tracts of land in other countries in anticipation of future problems. It seems obvious to us that in Canada we need to protect what we take for granted – our water – for future generations. Concerns of the Consumer The “world of juice” is listening to the consumers who want to reduce their sugar intake. Portion control is one part of the answer to that. In North America when you order juice in a restaurant, you receive a huge eight-to-ten ounce glass while in European countries, it will usually be considerably smaller. The health benefit of juices can be achieved in as little as an ounce of juice as is evident in our Tabletree Black Cherry juice. We encourage consumers to use only an ounce a day. In response are wonderful testimonials from people being helped with everything from gout, to arthritis, to emphysema, to mesothelioma, MS, and Crones Disease. We believe the health benefits of our juices, taken in moderation, far outweigh any damage coming from the natural sugars.

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Access to Funding A wonderful senior government official from South Africa wined and dined us, trying to entice us to move operations there. The government in South Africa will grant 80% of the capital needed to build a facility if we work with a South African company. In her words: “I would love for you to move to South Africa so I could give you some money!”

In Kelowna call 765-7658

It saddens us to think that we haven’t been approached by anyone in our own country with the same proposition, other than through an application process that will take a team of accountants and grant writers a millennium to complete.


Year End 2013 45

The Tabletree juice product line up with the 2012 first prize award trophy

We now have two world class juices; we have the world looking at our products, and we can’t seem to find support for our invention and expansion other than through foreign countries, foreign investors and foreign companies. To survive we will probably have to take a foreign offer. We are still hopeful that our country will assist farmers directly allowing Tabletree to stay in Canada, supporting our community and the rest of the farmers. Expanding our facility to include fruit from other farmers is part of the goal we set in the beginning to support our fellow farmers as well. We feel very fortunate having been given the opportunity to be spotlighted and celebrated at such a prestigious affair. We have also been asked if we would participate in an interview for a chapter in his next book about entrepreneurs and their path to success. We are still traveling that path. It has been a sometimes bumpy ride, and with some risk, but it has been a wonderful one to say the least. ■ Gary & Susan Snow are the owners and developers of Tabletree Juice products in Creston, B.C. In 2012 their Black Cherry Juice was awarded the ‘Best Pure Juice Product’ award and in 2013 their Red Apple Juice took second place in the ‘Best New Juice’ category at the World Juice Awards. You can find out more about their products at:

46 Year End 2013


Become a 'Fencing' Master & Keep Out Critters able online, for guidelines on deer and elk exclusion fencing. Cantilevered smooth wire top with flagging tape are the best deterrent to prevent fence-jumping and injuries to wildlife.

■ Regular maintenance, including complete physical inspections; ■Make sure all wires are taut and broken or damaged sections are repaired;


gricultural holdings are most often on the edges of populated regions and therefore in wildlife interface zones. Attractants are an unavoidable part of agriculture and, coupled with little or no wildlife mitigation effort, will drastically increase the possibilities of conflicts. The first solution after experiencing crop damage by bear or deer, is often fencing. Costs for new fencing may be too onerous to take on all at once and might require a prioritized, staged implementation. To save money and time, while ensuring an added level of safety to humans and wildlife, consider the following for existing fences:

■Fill in where wildlife have dug underneath or bury a wire mesh skirt under the fence;

If you are considering electric fencing, make a plan before you contact a contractor. Consider the project: What are you most concerned about keeping out or inside the fence? Decide which is best: solar or electric power, fixed or mobile – perhaps both. Make a sketch to lay out boundaries and to calculate the actual footage of the fencing required. Ensure the fence loops back to itself to maximize energizing potential.

■ Add a smooth wire section atop an existing fence to add height. Low fences augmented with higher strands of barbed wire are not recommended for deer fencing; this most commonly causes wildlife injury; ■ Emphasize height with a top rail, using PVC pipe sections or flagging tape; ■One or two strands of electric wire outside and along existing fences adds effectiveness;

Consider all conditions under which the fence must operate and identify potential hazards and barriers, such as cables, hydro lines, roadways, large boulders, and terrain challenges. Mark out distances for brush clearing on each side of the fence to

■ A trench filled with large rocks can prevent wildlife from digging underneath the fence; Consult the “BC Agricultural Fencing Handbook”, avail-

improve line of sight and ease fence maintenance. This also removes cover and shelter for predators and allows wildlife to see the fence. Calculate annual losses, in dollar figures, resulting from wildlife predation. Consider actual crop loss and time spent removing the wildlife. Calculations should include the annual costs of labour and materials to repair property damage and fences. Obtain at least two quotes for a professional installation – on a cost per foot basis showing gate and driveway options. Discuss what role you will play in the installation so the quotes reflect your participation. Lastly decide how much of the preparation work you can do. Brush clearing, line marking and terrain modification will save you money. Yes, you want to keep out wildlife but you want to cause the least amount of harm and disruption to wildlife outside your property. Use smooth, solid galvanized

Year End 2013 47

wire, not barbed wire, and make sure the top fence wires are highly visible to birds and mammals. Consider whether you want to allow non-target wildlife safe passage through your fences. If possible allow wildlife to easily move past or along the outside perimeter of the fence. With a safe corridor for travel, wildlife will not be crowded onto roads where they are at hazard. For domestic sheep or llamas, double the lines to prevent “nose to nose” disease transmission between domestic and wild bighorn sheep. Even with good fencing, wildlife do get into fenced areas –most commonly from gates left open. Install one or more

manual gates at the opposite end of the property so that they can be opened if wildlife is trapped inside. The larger the fenced property, the greater need for one or more gates besides the main vehicle access gate. There is little extra cost involved when gates are installed as part of a new perimeter fence. For large remote properties adjacent to wildlife travel areas, one-way wildlife gates can be a good investment to prevent wildlife damage. Refer to Fencing with Wildlife in Mind at: and BC Agricultural Fencing Handbook: http://

wildlife guide series Living with Wildlife in BC, Conflict Reduction Techniques Guide, written by Zoe Kirk and Margaret Holm. They are available at - Living with Wildlife pages or www.rdos. WildsafeBC-Bear Aware page. ■ Margaret Holm works for the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance. Contact her at

Change of Address

The preceding was adapted from the

To update your mailing address send us an email

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Outsmart Jack Frost with an Orchard-Rite® wind machine. 48 Year End 2013


Raising the Minimum Wage Debate for the new ruling class is the stuff of much heated political debate.

For those already in, the picture is still very tough. Making a living on commodity priced fruits is often very difficult. Even in the robust wine industry, grape growers don’t have an easy ride.


hat you could buy for a dollar in 2000 costs $1.28 today. That’s a 28% increase in 13 years. Most of us don’t like to think we are driven by the allmighty dollar, but the harder we are being squeezed the harder it is to make a stand. If you’re teetering on the edge of bankruptcy a debate about pushing up the minimum wage seems beyond stupidity. Within the B.C. farming community there are many pressures, so many that it is harder and harder to attract young people in to the industry. From our view at Orchard & Vine, the biggest single barrier to the fruit industry appears to be the cost of land. With agricultural land values running around $100,000 per acre no one can get into farming who isn’t there already in the southern half of the province.

There is no debate that the middle class is being squeezed. While a tiny proportion are moving upward, most, including most farmers, are being squeezed downward.

If the world was truly wide open for trade, farmers in the West would still be in trouble for the same reason that clothing manufacturers are: the trade would normally go to developing countries where workers earn a fraction of what workers here earn.

While inflation has been tamed for the most part in Canada, even with minimal increases, it adds up over time. In 2000 the minimum wage was $8.00 per hour. Today, in British Columbia, it is $10.25. That’s 28.1% more, which means that so far this decade the minimum wage is in balance with the cost of living.

That’s part of the reason why bringing Mexican workers here to farm in our fields works at all. It is extremely unlikely any of them are happily parted from their families for four-to-six months, but the money here, our minimum wage, is too good compared to the poverty inducing rates they receive at home.

Like farming itself, that core inflation rate doesn’t really reflect the increased cost of land and housing, which is wildly distorting the picture. In the end land prices will kill B.C. farming or a new balance will have to be found.

Our economy is changing. Agri-corporations take a bigger chunk of agriculture every year and governments, if they aren’t openly cooperating, turn a blind eye.

Similarly wage increases will have to balance the real cost of living, including housing costs or the system will not be sustainable. In the meantime, farmers will have to struggle individually on finding a way to survive or they will quit the industry as many already have in the past 13 years. So far this century the minimum wage is keeping up, as it should, but that doesn’t mean we can shut the door on this debate. If, in the future, we don’t allow those at the bottom to keep up then we will be doing to the poor what many people say the large corporations and uncaring politicians are doing to us. ■ Devon Brooks is managing editor of Orchard & Vine. If you wish to comment on this column or anything else in the magazine, please send your thoughts to:


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BC Liquor Law – Half Full or Half Empty? BC’s Attorney General is currently reviewing a wide-ranging proposal to modernize BC’s liquor laws. The results could have profound impacts on wineries, brew pubs and distilleries. Parliamentary Secretary John Yap presented his report late last month. Cabinet is now considering major changes to bring BC Liquor Laws up to date. Advocates of change say the current state of the law finds the wine bottle half full, and half empty. Here is a quick review of what’s been done, and what various groups want to see changed.

EMPTY 1. Buying a bottle at the corner store. Yap announced in October the government is committed to exploring the idea of selling alcohol at grocery stores. He says it was the number one issue brought up by British Columbians. 2. Make it easier to get Special Occasion Licenses. Advocates want to reduce the bureaucracy, and also allow companies to get SOL’s for events like holiday parties. 3. Standardize the liquor price markups with international standards. Have one wholesale price for all wholesale buyers. 4. Expand farm gate sales. Allow wine sales at farmers markets, and allow ‘satellite tasting rooms’ away from the winery. 5. Streamline the process to apply for liquor licenses. The current system is notoriously unwieldy and time consuming. 6. Can you say 'Happy Hour'? Advocates call for 'variable pricing' for alcohol at restaurants, pubs and bars.

Photo by Steven Cukrov |

FULL In February 2013 new legislation came in allowing the following: 1. Catering companies can be transport alcohol and hold the liquor licence for events instead of requiring their clients to do so; 2. Breweries and distilleries can have an on-site lounges or tasting rooms; 3. Small- and medium-sized liquor manufacturers can have up to three off-site restaurant or lounge partnerships; 4. Rules have been simplified around how liquor manufacturers can promote their products in bars and restaurants.

50 Year End 2013

Year End 2013 51

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Orchard and Vine Magazine Year End 2013  

Year-in-Review: what happened in grapes, wine, apples, cherries, berries and more! Land, Labour and Liquor Laws. Pacific Agriculture Show S...

Orchard and Vine Magazine Year End 2013  

Year-in-Review: what happened in grapes, wine, apples, cherries, berries and more! Land, Labour and Liquor Laws. Pacific Agriculture Show S...