Mountain Grove Orchards was one of the first orchards to be certified organic in 1985, with S.O.O.P.A. (Similkamean Okanagan Organic Producers Association)
The orchards and vineyards on the benches east of Penticton have some of the richest soil anywhere – a very important advantage for growing nutritious food, without chemicals, and one reason our fruit tastes so good. Well rotted compost is added to the soil every year. We don’t spray anything on our trees. Not even ‘organic’ sprays. We don’t get maximum production per acre, but most of the time, the fruit is good quality. Because we don’t spray anything on our orchard, if it really rains a lot in the summer, the apples can get apple scab. The Okanagan valley is normally hot and dry in summer, and for the last several years, apple scab hasn’t been a problem.
An abundance of natural beneficial insects keeps pests under control. There is always a certain percentage of ‘cosmetically damaged’ fruit on any organic orchard, which makes more work when sorting, because some of the good insects that eat the bad insects, also take bites out of some of the fruit. But beneficial insects do way more good than harm. Ladybugs, lacewings, and lots of tiny different spiders are some of the ‘good bugs’ on our orchard.
The SIR (sterile insect release) program has eliminated the codling moth – which was the most damaging insect pest in apples. This is one example of something the government has done, that ‘helped’ the organic growers – a lot. I am glad the codling moth is no longer a problem.
We grow a lot of different varieties – a list of the approximate harvest dates is shown below.
|Varieties that we grow|