Sun-Oka Fruit Farms is owned and operated by Devin and Janine Jell, of Summerland, BC. Devin writes: “We are the fifth generation to manage the family orchard and our current candidates for the sixth generation operators are Emily, 6, Katie, 3, and Alicia, babe in arms.”

“Janine and I met in 2000 while completing our biology degrees at the University of Victoria. Janine studied entomology (our own in-house insect expert) and I focused on molecular biology and biochemistry. We moved back to Summerland in 2006 and took control of orchard operations in November of that year.”

“We have a little over 60,000 dwarf apple trees planted on two lots – 26 acres combined. The properties are still owned and lived upon by Janine’s father, Dave, and uncle, Fred, who worked the land together for close to 30 years. Dave still loves the orchard and helps out whenever needed.”

“We are a small-scale operation, focusing on quality over quantity. Nearly all of the work on our farm is done by myself and my right-hand man, Johnny, who has worked full-time on our orchard for over 20 years.”

“We hire three or four extra people seasonally, to help with thinning in the summer and picking in the fall, but for the majority of the year it’s a two-man show. Johnny and I do the thousands of hours of pruning and mowing and maintenance each year, and if you stop by our travelling fruit stand in the fall, we’ll be the same two faces. We’re always happy to share the fruits of our labour and answer any questions you may have.”