Salmon Arm’s historic Hanna family orchard was recently sold to the owners of Squamish-based Northyards Cider Co. A new cidery is planned for the property. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm’s historic Hanna family orchard was recently sold to the owners of Squamish-based Northyards Cider Co. A new cidery is planned for the property. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Cidery planned for Salmon Arm’s historic Hanna family orchards

James and Stuart Hanna pleased to see property sold to Northyards Cider Co.

Salmon Arm’s historic Hanna family orchards will be in good hands.

After about two years on the market, the 29.3 acre Hanna and Hanna Farm property at 3181 11th Ave. NE, run by brothers and business partners James and Stuart Hanna, recently sold to Alison Round and Kathleen Van Der Ree of Squamish’s Northyards Cider Co.

Known to make his own cider from his Salmon Arm-grown apples, James has long considered the property ripe for a cidery.

“We have been thinking a cidery would be good mainly because of all the different varieties of apples we grow…,” said James, pleased Round and Van Der Ree will be using the property for just that.

“It is a unique property and we certainly weren’t willing to sell it to anybody…” said James. “It had to be good for the community, it had to be good for our neighbours, it had to be right and I think these people who have purchased it… they will do well and I think they will take it to the next level.”

In terms of marketing, Round and Van Der Ree will have Salmon Arm’s rich agricultural history to draw from. The Hanna property itself is 113 years old – one of the oldest active orchards in Salmon Arm. It was established in 1907 by the Hannas’ great-grandparents, Edwin and Sarah Dodd. In 2007 the property was recognized by the B.C. government with a Century Farm Award.

“I suspect they (Round and Van Der Ree) will have a special cider that will carry the name,” said James. “They would be crazy if they didn’t use that history to help market it and I suspect they will.”

Selling the property is something James and spouse Harriet came to terms with years ago, after hosting a retirement sale and shutting down operations.

“We decided to close the garden centre and during that final year, 2016 to 2017, I reconciled – there’s more to life than this farm,” said James. “We’re only temporary residents here and if someone else can be more successful here, than all power to them and I can let this go. I personally don’t have to hang on to this and Harriet and I both came to that conclusion.”

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Stuart said he too was pleased with the sale of the property and what’s in store for it, but left it to his brother to comment.

Having had time to spend with the new owners, James has seen in them the passion and drive that he says is needed to run a farm.

As for his and Harriet’s plans, James said they travelled to South Africa last year and are looking forward to the end of COVID-19 pandemic so they can travel across Canada. However, they will continue to reside in Salmon Arm. They now live in a new home with a view of Harriet’s old family farm.

“It’s like living in the middle of the farm, but you’ve got a postage stamp of a yard to look after and the neighbours are wonderful people and we get along with them all and have built some very pleasant relationships here,” said James.

Having heard the news of another cidery planned for the Westgate Public Market, James said the two cideries and all the local vineyards put Salmon Arm in an excellent position for marketing.

“We’ve got a critical mass that will start to draw tours and all sorts of things,” said James. “It’s just going to open up Salmon Arm so nicely to that sort of activity. It’s going to be good for everybody.”

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James and Harriet Hanna are ready for retirement in this photo taken in 2018. (Contributed)