Jobst-Hof Orchard is a small family-run farm in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan is the closest commercial tree-fruit growing region to the lower mainland and Oyama is located about 5 hours from Vancouver. We carry out and supervise all phases of production ourselves.
Our home orchard has a gentle east facing slope and is located on glacial soil deposits. For tree fruits, this imparts three benefits:
- better tree growth due to the early morning sun (photosynthesis is most efficient early in the day),
- less stress on trees and superior fruit quality characteristics resulting from late-afternoon shading effects provided by orchardside trees (cherries do not languish in the intense afternoon sun), and
- glacial soils and a gentle slope that allow our trees to develop deep root systems to take advantage of a natural growing environment and permit for better air movement through the leaves (we have wonderful daytime valley winds and delightful nightly downdrafts from the hills behind the orchard).
Viewing out over the orchard looking northeast towards Kalamalka Lake – the lake of many colours.
Picking sweet cherries off of a 3 legged orchard ladder. Good balance is rewarded by exceptional views!
Changing ‘hand-pipes’ in the apple orchard. The old fashioned way of irrigating.
Upon acquiring the property in 2001, we immediately set about replanting it. We grow a variety of tree fruits which you will find available at the market as they come into season.
Our sweet cherry varieties have been developed right here in British Columbia at the Summerland Research Station – known as PARC. There, new varieties are developed that will have the characteristics that we all enjoy – sweet, large, and crunchy. This is not GMO stuff but rather the result of time tested, tried and true farming.
Our sour cherries are of Hungarian origin and will be familiar to people of European and Persian ancestry. They have an altogether different and much more ‘cherry’ taste.
Our peaches are picked at a true ‘tree ripened’ stage and packaged VERY carefully so as not to bruise them. When you buy our peaches, you can enjoy the sweetness and flavour right away (but, you will need a napkin to wipe the juice off of your chin).
Plums, apples, and pears are also of the highest quality and a festival of flavour.
While we grow our fruit conventionally, as we gain experience we have learned that there are ‘softer’ approaches in dealing with the insects and organisms that affect our trees and crop. While these methods are often more costly and time consuming to apply than the ‘industrial’ ones, we use them since, after all, we live and play on the farm.
Trees are sprayed a minimal amount for pests (using a combination of certified organic and effective conventional products) and are fed with a mixture of nutrients to replace those which are removed from the tree and soil by the developing fruit. We use an organic form of liquified seaweed to help the leaves to be more robust and effective at doing their job of photosynthesis.
On properties with newer plantings, irrigation takes place throughout the night, using micro-jet sprinklers, to minimize the amount of water lost to evaporation and thus help to conserve this precious resource.
All fruit is picked by hand, fresh on a weekly basis. We quickly cool all of our produce to maximize freshness without the use of fungicidal baths. We carefully wash (cherries only), sort, pack, cool, and transport the fruit that you are going to eat with the minimum amount of unnatural input or time delays. We have undergone the Environmental Farm Plan process and practice FoodSafe methods. We want you, our customer, to have the best eating experience possible.
Outdoor agriculture is not easy, nor without its risks, but we are committed to making a go of it. We are working hard to provide a legacy that our children will want to continue.