We are Dean and Sylvia Kreutzer. We have always been fruit lovers; Dean’s earliest memories was of picking saskatoons. Sylvia remembers wading through the river to get to the wild blueberry patch up north. But honestly, isn’t that about all the tree fruit we think we can grow here in Saskatchewan?
It was quite a revelation when we toured a local nursery for some flowers when we came upon Apricots, Plums, Apples and Pears! We asked the salesperson the question we now hear most from our customers, “We can grow these here?”
Although we couldn’t grow peaches like they do in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia, we could grow other delectable fruit, suited for our climate. Growers in B.C. can’t grow Valencia oranges like they do in California, but that didn’t stop them from creating the most popular tourist and fruit production area in the country. We believed that we can apply the same principles of fruit growing and tourism, here in Saskatchewan.
It was quite the transformation for Dean; from computer programmer to Certified Organic fruit grower. Many people questioned his decision, but never his enthusiasm. 30 years growing up in the city did nothing to prepare him for the trials of rural life, and unfortunately the learning curve was vertical! While Sylvia had grown up on the farm, growing fruit was a lot different than slopping pigs and herding cattle! At least we had the knowledge that before this dream could become a reality, we would have to do a lot of research.
Dean took horticulture classes via correspondence at the University of Saskatchewan to give him the basics of plant anatomy and fruit production, and learned the art of fruit breeding in hopes to create hardier varieties of fruit that can be grown in our climate. We traveled to many fruit growing regions in North America, to learn from the knowledge that growers have accumulated over the years. Many connections were also made through the internet to growers and fruit breeders around the world; Estonia, Finland, Moscow, Siberia, India, are just a small sample. We soon found out that the challenge was to incorporate and adapt their experience and knowledge to the specific challenges in our climate, but in many cases we were breaking new ground!
With all this gathered knowledge, you would think that our orchard would have a smooth transition from plan to reality; well it certainly wasn’t! There is nothing like hands-on experience to make a us realize that we had a lot more to learn; our biggest lesson being that Mother Nature has a final veto power over all our decisions. It is difficult to express the frustration of watching grasshoppers destroy trees that were planted 10 minutes previously, to see flood waters rip plants out of the ground, or to see the wind tear down a windbreak. How helpless we actually are!
It seems like a lifetime since we planted our first cherry tree; impatience being second only to mother nature in the trials we have faced. Throughout that exciting and challenging time, we were always innovating with new fruits being grown, new products being developed, and tours of the orchards being created. It is very gratifying to be able to offer our customers products created with so much passion and common sense principles behind them such as using Certified Organic fruit, low sugar recipes, and even Gluten Free alternatives. Please check our Products page for a complete listing of the products we offer and check out our Tour page to find out more information on taking a tour of the operations.
Dean & Sylvia Kreutzer