Wife in the fast lane: Apple harvest at the Carter orchard

If you’re a frequent visitor to the site, you know that in addition to being president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, our founder Neal Carter also has his own family-run apple and cherry orchard. How does he manage to run both the company and orchard you ask? With plenty of help from his better half, Louisa Carter! Louisa was kind enough give us an inside look at her favourite time of year – apple harvest at the Carter orchard: 

When shoppers grab an apple or two at the grocery store, they casually throw them in their baskets and move along to one of the twenty other things on their list. Little do they know how much care, anxiety and hard work go into each and every piece of fruit! Carter Orchard Gala Block

Neal and I work long hours during harvest season, getting the pickers into the orchard just as soon as it’s warm enough out and we generally finish the day around dinner time with 25-40 bins depending on the variety. We may have a small farm, but still, every one picks at least 10,000 apples a day! Every single one is carefully picked from the tree by hand with the utmost care not to bruise them. While that may not seem like fun for many, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

We’re the type of growers who are out there in the orchards doing nearly every job ourselves (when we can’t get our kids to do them anyway!), including the not-so-fun ones like manually  turning on sprinklers and pruning thousands of trees in the cold of winter. It really is a year-long process but it’s during harvest that we really know it’s so worth it!

Our harvest this year began on Sept. 15th and I took the “doing it ourselves” creed to a new level. While I already knew I was going to be trying something new this year by driving the tractor and forklift instead of picking, I didn’t know I was going to have to turn mechanic too! On just the second day of the season, with Neal out of town, a hydraulic hose broke on the tractor. I am very proud to say that with zero prior experience I was able to fully repair it completely on my own and saved the day!

Speaking of being proud, that is definitely the best word to describe the feeling I have when I admire our beautiful crop. This year in particular has been absolutely amazing with some of the best weather and the best apples we’ve ever had. We know we’re producing something nutritious and tasty and that families all over will love eating them almost as much as we enjoy growing them.His and Her Tractors - Louisa and Neal

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About Louisa Carter

On top of being CFO and Found of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Louisa is instrumental in the orchard and loves producing something nutritious and tasty and that families all over will love to eat.


  1. Raymond Lefebvre

    Bought a bag of the Farmer’s Market Macs in Superstore, South Edmonton, Haven’t had as good a MacIntosh for years. Sharp, crisp and  fresh taste. So bought a second bag in case they ran out. Have a few left today and my wife is making apple sauce, excellent.  Hope the supply lasts for a while, usually Macs in Edmonton are somewhat overripe and not long lasting, overpriced, and not to be found in a few months, except for the “lefovers”.

  2. Joel

    Thanks for the positive feedback Michael & Raymond!  I’ll pass it on to the Carters, who will appreciate the warm comments while they’re freezing their butts off doing winter pruning!

  3. Michael Richardson

    Have been looking for Spartans of this high quality for a couple of months.  Superb crispness, tart/sweet flavour.  Immpecable quality in all respects.  Thanks.

  4. Henry

    I bought some of these GMO apples a while back to see if they would ever go brown. They didnt taste great but I guess they were not bred for flavor. I cut them in half to test whether they brown or not and so far I have had them out for 19 months now and no change yet! Amazing! they last as long as a Mcdonalds cheeseburger or a Twinkie. I wonder what happens to them in our digestive systems if they dont break down?

    • Jessica Brady

      Hello Henry,
      Our apples are not yet available for purchase as test markets are still upcoming, so you may have been eating a different, slow browning variety, but it was not an Arctic apple and would not have been produced using GM technology. Arctic apples are just like the conventional counterparts until they are bitten, sliced or bruised. This means that an Arctic Golden is the exact same as a Golden Delicious in taste/looks/size, it just doesn’t undergo enzymatic browning.
      Also, Arctic apples are still susceptible to breakdown. The enzyme which causes browning has been reduced, but Arctic apples are still effected by microbial browning caused by bacteria or fungus (ie rotting) and are digested the same as conventional apples.
      We will be test marketing Arctic Golden slices in 2017, in case you want to try the real thing.
      Thank you,