Okanagan Valley is the second most important agricultural region in the province of British Columbia. Fruit-bearing trees are the main agricultural products in the region, with apples as the leading fruit products. Hiram “Okanagan” Smith planted the first apple trees while the Oblates Missionaries were the main cultivator of apple trees in the region circa 1862.
It was only in the 1890s when the Governor-General Aberdeen had given his strong impetus on the cultivation of fruit trees in the region. Through his donation of massive pieces of land intended for the fruit trees, he was able to propagate the fruit harvesting and processing industry in Okanagan Valley.
However, the pioneer orchard has suffered primarily due to the lack of irrigation and the marketing of the fruits. This is atop the temperature drops and codling moth infestations.
The 1930s had brought innovative irrigation structures that made the once arid sagebrush land into one of the primary fruit-growing areas in the region. 1926 saw the beginning of the commercial grape vineyard cultivations in Kelowna and had since supported the growth of the wine industry in the area, including the local and coastal regions of the province.
Presently, the fruits industry of the province of British Columbia is found in the Okanagan Valley. This region produced 80% of the apricots and sweet cherries in Canada, 40% of the plums and pears, and 20% of the peaches, nectarines, and apples. The vineyards and orchards in the Okanagan Valley continually support the nation’s wine industry.