A look back into our past
Some laughed when George Covert bought this desert-like piece of land back in 1959 – but he, his son, and eventually grandson have grown Covert Farms into a cornerstone in regenerative organic farming. The family name is well known across numerous provinces with restaurateurs and grocers alike. Experience our Estate wines, fresh organic produce at our in-store location, or pick your own at our organic fields.
In 1959, George and Winnifred Covert, Gene’s grandparents, were tired of the pace in California so George decided to explore. He was intrigued by the climate of this area; he had heard it would be suitable to grow soft fruit and vegetables, and that’s what they wanted. When he came on a weekend trip to this valley, the decision was made, and, in the dead of winter, George purchased the undeveloped mesa north of Oliver and went home to tell Winnifred, “We’re moving to Canada.”
George brought his wife Winnifred, and their 2 sons Calvin and Michael to Oliver to start their new Canadian life and Covert Farms. Calvin managed their cattle ranch on Richter Pass in Osoyoos (now owned by Ace Elkink), while Mike helped George in the vegetable business. Winnifred, kept the books and sold produce out of the window of the old office. A mixed farm from the start included tomatoes, onions, potatoes, corn, alfalfa, orchards and vineyards. Photo: Jimmy Fugeta
From the 1960’s until 1989, the year of the grape pull-out, Covert Farms was one of the larger vineyards in the Okanagan Valley (180 acres). The grapes were French Hybrids, Okanagan Reisling and Labruscas, such as “White Diamond”, which, truth be told, made consistently unremarkable “Chateau Okanagan River Channel” wines. Photo: Mike Covert & Richard Cleave
With the imminent grape pull-out, Mike realized a need for change and we planted our first high density block of Gala apples, the new sensation from New Zealand. The roaring apple business brought 80 acres of high-production blocks of Galas and Ambrosias, numbering 680 to 3200 trees to the acre making Covert Farms one of the leading apple growers in the Okanagan
After the passing of Mike Covert in 2004 and like the forward-thinking Coverts before them, Gene & Shelly moved ahead with 140 acres of organic production, started a winery and vineyard and leased out 300 acres to another local winery.
After more that a decade of organic production, Shelly and Gene fully implement regenerative farming practices of minimal soil disturbance, keeping the soil covered, multi-species cover crops, diverse crop rotations and integrated livestock to ensure future generations have an ever improving environment.
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