It began in Bolton, Lancashire, England – in 1910. Frank Dickinson, instead of following in his father’s trade of wheelwright, struck out for Canada with his wife Maryanne and children Isabel and Frank Jr. Soon, they arrived at an unknown port in eastern Canada and made their way westward. One prairie winter was enough for the family and the following year they made their way to British Columbia, settling in Summerland!
The first Dickinson Family Farm was founded in 1912, just ten years after J.M Robinson founded the town of Summerland. With great perseverance and the help of other English families in the Okanagan, the stones that covered the land were hand picked and cleared into would eventually become a lovely apple orchard. Through the endeavor, the skills and determination to run a viable orchard operation were passed down from father to son.
Frank Dickinson senior (my grandfather) farmed the land until my father Frank, having returned home from the war and living in Oliver, took over the day to day operations. Frank Dickinson ran the apple crew and in 1946 purchased his own orchard on Whitfield Road Summerland and farmed it with his best friend Woody Gillespie.
At the age of 22, having learned the trade of orcharding from my father, I purchased Woody’s orchard and house in 1965. Five years later I formed the company Sunshine Fruit and in 1974 my brother John partnered with me. At the height of our farming venture, between owning and leasing we had close to 100 acres planted in orchard in and around Summerland.
Our packinghouse was built in 1992 and before this (1988-1992) we packed our fruit in a small shed near our house. John retired in 1998 and I resumed sole operation with my wife Renee.