David Tauzer and wife Katherine Tomczuk, owners of TnT Farm located at 835 Salting Road in Naramata, have been growing peaches for over a quarter of a century.
“Sometimes we’re called ‘dynamite organic peaches’,” Tauzer said.
Originally, he and Tomczuk thought they would buy an apple orchard.
“When we saw this place, our youngest daughter, Sasha, who was 8, told us to buy it,” Tauzer said.
The family including Sasha’s sister, Lila, had been living on a large, remote ranch in Northern California.
“We wanted our girls to have more of a community, yet be in a rural setting, and to return to Canada,” Tomczuk said.
The couple met in Tomczuk’s home province of Quebec and lived in the Okanagan and New Brunswick before moving to the ranch.
Originally from Davis, California, Tauzer was raised on his family’s tomato farm.
Tomczuk is retiring this year as a social worker and counselor.
When the couple purchased their 1.2 ha in Naramata in 1990, one half was planted in cherries and the other half in peaches.
In 2006, they replanted the entire orchard in peaches.
“We have ten varieties with half of our orchard being planted in Early Red Haven and Red Haven,” Tauzer explained.
The season runs five to six weeks starting with the harvest of Early Red Havens and ending with Elberta in August,
The first peaches usually ripen around July 20th but this year, as occurred last year, the season is advanced by three weeks.
In order of sequence of ripening the other varieties are Red Haven, Glohaven, Red Globe, Canadian Harmony, Coral Star and Flame Crest.
Tauzer’s favourite is Red Haven.
“The trees are heavy producers of good quality, larger fruit with good shelf life,” he said.
For the past ten years all of the peaches have been sold at an on-farm produce stand.
“We’ve occasionally gone to the Naramata Community Market,” Tauzer said.
Previously, the couple sold fruit at farmers’ markets in Armstrong, Vernon and Kamloops.
The couple also sell canned sour cherries and peach juice.
Tauzer credits his success in organic growing to meticulous orchard management.
The peach tree borer has been his only insect problem of note.
Before 2006, Tauzer would lie on the ground and dig out the grubs at the base of the trees by hand.
“Now I put a twist tie loaded with pheromone on each tree. It confuses the males in their search for females,” he said.
While working on a landscape project in California, Tauzer, a trained architectural draftsman, learned of an unusual irrigation technique which he installed at TnT Farm.
“It’s an underground system of plastic pipes that seep water. Everything is on a timer,” he said.
The system provides very good consistency and is easy to control, according to Tauzer.
In recent years, the couple has been hiring more help to do chores such as spreading manure around the trees and weeding.
“Kathy and I do all the picking early in the morning when it’s cool,” Tauzer said.
Recently, a young couple, Joshua Smith and Michelle Younie, purchased 0.4 ha of orchard.
Younie has a home business, Somewhere That’s Green Edible Landscaping, and runs a produce farm in Penticton.
Tauzer and Tomczuk will continue to grow Red Haven peaches and operate the fruit stand for a couple of weeks each season.
“Summer, peaches and the Okanagan all go together,” Tauzer said, reflecting on the pleasure of growing his favourite fruit.