One of Summerland’s well-loved fruit stands and bakeries is looking to branch out into the cidery business, applying to the District and the Agricultural Land Commission for approval.
As this is an ALC application and not a direct application to the district, the district is a referral agency and does not send external referrals.
Council will be considering the application for a non-farm use and decide whether the application be forwarded to the ALC for consideration.
In the staff’s report, they said the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) considered the application at their meeting on June 16.
Comments from the AAC stated that they felt the proposal is largely misunderstanding the site requirements for parking and access to make it work, leaving not enough room to accommodate this additional business, plus Granny’s Fruit Stand.
There are concerns from the AAC about competition with other cideries in town not being fair and concern with the potential loss of Granny’s Fruit Stand in the community.
Staff said that given the proximity to and visibility from Highway 97, they believe the cidery would provide additional tourism activities that promote Summerland’s agricultural roots and support the farming industry in general.
Local fruits from the family’s farm in Penticton as well as from other orchardists in the area would be used at the cidery, helping support the local agricultural economy.
In the business application to the ALC, they describe their goals for the cidery and the hardships faced by the farm currently.
“My parents have seen the hardships of what it's like to own an orchard in BC. The packing house that buys their fruit gives them little to no profit margin with most of the money going back out to pay farm workers, packaging costs, admin expenses etc. It has been difficult to stay afloat and although we would never do this, the temptation to destroy our orchard and convert it to a vineyard to make wine has always been there. It is for this reason that we want to construct a cidery and make apple cider,” they wrote.
The fruits that will be used to make cider are seconds, meaning they are spotted, bruised or otherwise unfit for sale at the fruit stand or to sell to packing houses, lessening waste on their farm.
The applicant stated that this will grow their ability to buy seconds from other farmers, helping with profitability by utilizing and paying for fruit that would otherwise have to be discarded.
Council will discuss the non-farm use application on Monday.