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January 30, 2016

2016 BCFGA Award Recipients


Wilfrid and Sally Mennell, BCFGA Life Members.  The Mennells are known worldwide as the discoverers of the Ambrosia apple.  The original Ambrosia apple tree grew as a chance seedling in the Mennells' home orchard.  Realizing the potential, both Wilfrid and Sally have been tireless supporters of Ambrosia from the start, investing their time and resources with fervour.  In fact, the Mennells remain very active and were not available for the announcement of the award, as they were away promoting Ambrosia at Fruit Logistics, a premier fruit show. 

Kamlesh Parmar, BCFGA Award of Merit.  "Kam" is well known in the Central Okanagan as  former director of BC Fruit Packers Co-op.  He is also known for expanding his acreage of high density Apple plantings and was active for many years as a delegate in the BCFGA.

Brian and Dorothy Witzke, BCFGA Award of Merit.  Both Brian and Dorothy have been actively involved in the tree fruit Sector - Brian in the horticulture side, and Dorothy in the farm business side.  Brian was part of an initial visit to Europe that brought back the first knowledge of high density planting for apples.  Dorothy participated in farm business and accounting forums and workshops when they were first initiated.  In addition, Brian has been a BCFGA delegate and a member of the province's Tree Fruit Production Insurance Advisory Committee, while Dorothy participated in the BC Farm Women's Network.

Cheryl Hampson, BCFGA Award of Merit. The crossing and selecting of new apple varieties takes many years to accomplish, and Cheryl Hampson's focus and consistency have been very good for filling the pipeline with many promising new varieties, as well as completing the work on varieties released during her tenure - Aurora Golden Gala, Nicola, and Salish to name a few apples, and Starblush and Suite Note for cherriesCheryl's work involves the science of cross-breeding combined with selection that is based primarily on fruit eating characteristics and disease resistance, though many other factors are considered.  Cheryl's work has extended and perfected the use of "descriptive analysis and preference mapping for early-stage assessment of new apple varieties".  Recently, this fruit quality analysis has been applied to post harvest storage evaluation.Cheryl has played an important role in the continuity of the apple and cherry breeding program.  The "Tree Fruit Germplasm Scientist", as the position is now officially known, is a long-term project with many prominent scientists taking the helm throughout its long and successful history.  Cheryl Hampson has continued the tradition of excellence in apple and cherry breeding at the recently re-named "Summerland Research and Development Centre".

Tom Walker, BCFGA Press Award.  Tom writes informative news stories for Western Producer, Country Life in BC, as well as local Okanagan media, on topics ranging from Genetically Engineered apples to the Columbia River Treaty.

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