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All fruit grown by BC Tree Fruits is supplied from grower families, and are produced conventionally with no genetic modifications. The trees are sourced through nurseries that have not been modified in any way, which makes our products fall under the “non-GMO” label.
Some varieties of apples and cherries have been bred at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, BC. The mission of the Centre is to “generate knowledge and technologies to promote sustainable and economically viable production of wholesome foods and novel bioproducts from high-value horticultural crops for local, national and international producers and markets.”
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using genetic engineering methods.
BC Tree Fruits (BCTF) is a cooperative owned by its members, who are all also growers. The cooperative operates BC Tree Fruits, Growers Supply Co. Ltd. and BC Tree Fruits Cider Company.
BC Fruits Growers Association (BCFGA) is an industry association representing all fruit growers’ interests across BC. Some of their initiatives are lobbying governments for positive change to various programs such as risk management, crop insurance, replant and the Net Income Stabilization Program. All members of BCTF are also members of the BCFGA.
Several microclimates exist within the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, though we are generally known for our semi-arid desert climate. It is the perfect environment for growing our high quality apples, pears, cherries, and soft fruits. Our growers also benefit from pristine high mountain lakes for irrigation. Growers within the various microclimates manage their specific orchards to take full advantage of the unique growing conditions and produce the highest quality fruit possible.
All our fruit is packed within our packing facilities, except for some early season apple varieties like Sunrise and table grapes, which are packed in the orchards and blueberries which are grown and packed in Pitt Meadows at Meadow Berry Farms. We have four packing facilities located across the Okanagan Valley: Winfield, Kelowna, Oliver and Osoyoos. We pack our apples in Winfield, Oliver and Osoyoos. Pears are packed in Kelowna. Our cherries are packed in Kelowna and Oliver, and the remainder of our summer fruits are packed in Osoyoos.
Each product is packaged in different ways defined by the retail partner and end location. For most of our apples and pears, there is a bulk or bag option, and for some varieties there are additional packaging options. Summer fruits are packed in a variety of different packaging options. All the fruit is packed in one of the four facilities and shipped out directly from there to our customers.
There are two ways to store apples and pears: "Regular Storage" and "Controlled Atmosphere". For regular storage, think of your refrigerator - now take that and turn an entire warehouse into that same refrigerator. Some apples and pears, as well as the rest of our other fruits, are stored in large, cool temperature rooms. We store apples and some pears in both Regular Storage and Controlled Atmosphere storage, or CA. This technology allows us to control not only the temperature at which the apples are stored, but the atmosphere as well. What does that all mean? Well, CA storage slows the respiration of the fruit, which in turn stalls maturation ensuring the fruit lasts longer.
The CA storage process begins when the fruit is loaded into a sealed, controlled storage room. From there, we close the room and lower the oxygen levels while maintaining the temperature and humidity in the room. Once we are ready to access the fruit in the room, we slowly introduce oxygen back in. Exact conditions in the room vary depending on the variety. At BC Tree Fruits, we have the largest and most efficient CA storage facilities in the Okanagan Valley, which allows you, our consumers, to enjoy fresh local apples almost all year long.
Please visit our products using the links below to find out how to get the most out of your fruits.