Farm to Flight

20160706 Farm

Sam Samaddar launches the Farm to Flight program at Kelowna International Airport July 6, 2016

Those looking to take a taste of the Okanagan abroad will now have the opportunity to take in-season fruit on flights leaving from Kelowna International airport.

YLW’s Farm to Flight program allows Kelowna residents to show off the agricultural pride of the Okanagan to those across Canada, and lets tourists visiting the bountiful valley take their favourite tastes home with them.

The program was launched Wednesday in the departure lounge gift shop at the airport, where travellers can now purchase Okanagan cherries to take on their flight.

“Not only will Farm to Flight bring new opportunity and national reach for local farmers but it’ll bring awareness of Kelowna to tourist hubs all over the country,” said Kelowna city councillor Mohini Singh.

While cherries are the only fruit currently offered, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears will be offered as they come into season.

The fruit is supplied by De Simone Farms Ltd., a fruit grower and packer in Kelowna.

Pierre De Simone says while he doesn’t expect to see a huge bump in sales right off the bat, he has high hopes for the program's future.

“It’s going to take the passenger coming back a second time, and knowing that it was there,” he said. “It’s going to take a cycle of people coming through and telling their friends.

“I think it’s going to step up significantly as we go along.”

Two pound boxes of cherries are being sold for $9.95, while smaller cups are going for $3.95.

Prices have yet to be set for the other fruits, as it will largely be determined by agricultural conditions, but Ed Wong, general manager of Skyway at YLW, says there could be a premium on the price to ensure food safety when crossing provincial borders.

“There’s a certain food safe issue that I have to make sure that the customers get, which is ensuring the food goes through a processor,” Wong said. “Once the food goes through a processor it’s sanitized and safe and it goes by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency standards.”

The larger fruit will be sold in special briefcase-style boxes that fit underneath a plane’s seat, while protecting easily-bruised fruit. (Exerpt from Castanet News)

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