Apple grading line © Photo Courtesy of BC Tree Fruits Coop | BC Apples
In the heart of British Columbia, where the beauty of nature meets the sweat and toil of generations, lies an industry as iconic as the land it calls home—the B.C. apple industry. With a rich history dating back generations, these orchards have not only produced some of the most delicious apples but have also been a cornerstone of local communities. Despite the recent COVID-19 and 2021 heat dome challenges, optimism is high for the 2023 apple harvest season in British Columbia.
With climate change, growers are resorting to new technology and techniques to maintain quality—for example, utilizing white reflective fabric in the orchard to increase light intensity at harvest time, which increases the vibrant red colour that BC apples are renowned for around the world. Forest fires and smoke do not directly impact apples, so 2023 apple quality is expected to be a vintage year.
Apples are harvested from September to November and can be stored for up to a year but are mainly sold by May of the following year. Favourable weather forecasts are leading to a rapid harvest for the fall of 2023. As nature and human efforts harmonize, the stage is set for a bountiful and rewarding season.
Apples are a refreshing, nutritional fruit, great for eating fresh or using in salads and baking. Using locally sourced apples will benefit individual and economic health.
British Columbia’s apple industry serves as a vital pillar of food security for both the province and the nation. Local production reduces reliance on distant imports and bolsters the resilience of the regional food system. The industry plays a crucial role in providing accessible and reliable nourishment to communities across Western Canada and contributing to the broader food security of the country.
In the realm of apple cultivation, British Columbia has been an incubator for scientific breakthroughs and varietal development. Through dedicated research and innovation, local experts have meticulously crafted apple varieties tailored to the region’s unique climate and consumer preferences. From the crisp and sweet Ambrosia to the tart and firm Spartan, these and other thoughtfully crafted cultivars are on offer to exhibit exceptional taste and spectacular colour.
Choosing B.C. apples is about enjoying crisp, flavourful bites, and that choice makes a commitment to quality, sustainability, and supporting local communities. By opting for these homegrown treasures, consumers savour the freshest and most delicious fruits and also reduce their carbon footprint through shorter transportation distances. Moreover, buying B.C. apples directly contributes to the livelihoods of local farmers and the vibrancy of regional economies. Each purchase is a vote for ethical consumption, exceptional taste, and fostering a resilient, homegrown food system.
From the farmers who nurture the land to the families who savour the fruits of their labour, each individual plays a role in a legacy that extends back over a century. As the sun sets over the orchards, it illuminates not just rows of apple trees, but the shared determination to preserve a heritage that truly bears fruit for all.
Cook, bake, eat. Get inspired by B.C. apples. Find recipes at bctreefruits.com
Fruit has been a part of the Okanagan Valley for as long as anyone can remember.