BC Tree Fruit Grower
There are not many farms in British Columbia that can trace their history back over 100 years. The Day family has been farming in Kelowna since the 1890’s and currently the third to sixth generations live on the property. They have a diverse farm operation which includes beef cattle, poultry, a market garden and large pear orchard. Each year the Day family grows approximately 2-million pounds of local pears which they store, pack and ship under the brand, “Days Century Growers Inc” along with an additional 1.5-million pounds from other local growers.
With such a deep history and a diverse production, they have an interesting story to tell. Read our interview with Kevin Day below:
WHL: Your farm has such a long history in the Okanagan. What is your goal for the future of the farm?
KD: My main goal/dream for the future is to see the next generation continue the tradition on this land started by my great-grandfather in the 1800s. With multiple generations already involved in the family business, this goal is well under way. I take great pride in having the ability to grow the various foods that my family eats (e.g. beef, poultry, pork, vegetables of all kinds and fruit and berries) while making a living farming the land.
WHL: What practices and/or processes do you use to ensure your food is safe and high quality?
KD: Food safety is important to me, as is the quality of the food we produce. Ultimately I want to know that my products are safe enough for my children and grandchildren to eat.
We take great care in how we grow our crops. For example, we carefully consider our use of organic fertilizers, such as seaweed extracts and manure, and try to ensure our tillage methods are light enough to not damage the structure of the soil.
Our farm and packing house has been CanadaGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified since 2012. That means we are audited by a third-party to make sure we have the appropriate procedures in place to ensure our food is safe for anyone consuming it.
WHL: You raise livestock as well. How do you care for the animals on your farm?
KD: Although the ultimate goal of our livestock and poultry is to provide a safe source of protein for our family and customers, the well-being and comfort of the animals is very important to us. Providing a healthy, stress-free environment for our animals to flourish and grow in is the right thing to do. We make sure that our animals receive the proper nutrition, including vitamins and minerals. When we have healthy animals, they have strong immune systems, which means we can limit the use of antibiotics to treating individual animals only when they need it (infrequently).
WHL: What role do your employees play in the success of your business?
Our employees play a vital role in helping to implement the goals and standards of our farm. In order to accomplish this, they need to be engaged and connected to our core values as much as possible; this can only be achieved by providing them with the respect and autonomy required to support this philosophy.
This outlook has proved to be successful for our farm business. Our foreman has worked with us for 25-years and some of our harvesters have returned to pick our pear crop year after year, for up to 35 years now. Working together, our staff and family are proud to support sustainable food production in the Okanagan Valley.