Durham Region apple grower and marketer receives Golden Apple award
January 11, 2017
For immediate release
Toronto ON. – A well-known apple grower and marketer from Durham Region is the 2017 recipient of the Arysta Golden Apple Award, which was presented at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association annual meeting in Toronto on January 10.
Kirk Kemp is President of Algoma Orchards, where the Kemp and Gibson families have been growing apples since 1964. Since becoming president in 2003, Kemp has tripled Algoma’s orchard acreage to approximately 1,000 acres of high density plantings. The original Algoma Orchard was located in north Whitby on Taunton Road and it was under Kemp’s leadership that the decision was made to relocate to its current location on Highway 2 near Newcastle where there was room for the business to grow.
Since then, Algoma has added a new state-of-the-art fruit packing facility that’s one of the largest in Canada with a capacity for 100,000 bins of apples, as well as an automated fresh juice and non-alcoholic cider production plant. Kemp is also always keen to embrace new technologies from wind machines and harvest platforms to sophisticated sorting and x-ray equipment in the pack house.
“Kirk has that passion for growing apples and is always thinking of a better way to grow a better apple,” says Charles Stevens, Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers. “He has a vision for all components of the industry and believes in strategic alliances for the benefit of the entire value chain from growers to marketers and retailers.”
In addition to their own production, Algoma works with approximately 50 other Ontario apple growers and Kemp actively communicates with them regarding apple varieties needed in the marketplace, rootstock choices and planting system options.
“Kirk is a win-win individual. He’s led the industry in trying to work with other packers in more cooperative marketing efforts and he helps growers with their businesses in a positive way, all of which has had a tremendous beneficial impact on our industry,” says Stevens.
Kemp is a graduate of Class 2 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program and a Past President of the Bowmanville Lion’s Club, and served as a director on the former Ontario Apple Marketing Commission. He and his wife Sheila have three children, Eric, Erin and Byron.
The Arysta Golden Apple Award is presented annually to a recipient who has made outstanding contributions to the Ontario apple industry. The Ontario Apple Growers represents the province’s commercial apple farmers. Visit www.onapples.com.
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