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grower profile:

Hillview Heritage Farm

Vernon, British Columbia

David Doncaster

David Doncaster
Tell us about your growing philosophy.

The tree can't give what the ground doesn't have. We put strong focus on the soil with some attention to foliar feeding. Looking to enhance what nature is doing without being overbearing, without using anything chemical, even OMRI listed products unless it means no crop.

Tell us about your place on Earth.

Hillview Farm is a 3 acre plot situated in the Okangan Valley in the interior of British Columbia. Westerly facing slope, zone 5. Summer temps  90-100 F are common so we do need to irrigate.  Presently we have about 100 apple trees , all 50-60 years old on Antonovka rootstock,  800 feet of raspberries, 6 plum trees, an apricot and a good size grape vine. In the nursery there are 300 new apples , 40 varieties (mostly heirloom) on Bud 118 , 30 haskap (Honeyberry) and 10 peach trees.

What draws you to growing fruit?

I'm not sure, I think something bit me.

Something happens when I'm amongst the trees. There's a communication, if I am willing to listen. Numerous times I have found myself walking into branches of a particular tree and if I take the time I will find that maybe it has been hit hard by codlers or that wooly apple aphids are getting out of hand.

What holistic innovation keeps your trees rarin' to grow?

You bet, whole-heartedly behind it.

What might you change if you could do one thing over again in your orchard?

How do you go about marketing the good fruit?

Presently sell off the farm and an indoor market in town. My first year to try juicing. In the future will tie in apple tastings with artist showings out amongst the trees.

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