Agriculture is an important economic sector in the Vernon area. There are over 350 farms with a total farm area of 23,733 hectares, generating an estimated $17-million in annual gross farm receipts. The larger North Okanagan Regional District consists of approximately 1,167 farms with a total area of 84,339 hectares and estimated annual farm receipts of $26.2-million. The North Okanagan has 65,124 hectares (8.7%) located in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Agriculture in the Vernon area is diverse, leading in cattle ranching, animal production and fruit farming. However, greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, vegetable and melon farming, poultry and egg production, sheep and goat farming are also fast-growing activities locally.
The Vernon area has a diverse food-processing sector that has developed in partnership with the region’s agricultural base. There are an estimated 14 food-processing firms in the area. These companies supply local markets through farm gate sales and target export markets around the world.
Innovation continues to create new opportunities in the agriculture and food-processing sector. One example is the establishment of vineyards in the Vernon area with new grape varieties. Growth in Metro Vancouver is creating increased demand on agricultural land in the Lower Mainland making it desirable to relocate some farming and food-processing activities to areas where agricultural and industrial land is more affordable and readily available.
Notable food and beverage processors and agritourism companies in the Vernon area include:
- BX Press Cidery & Orchard
- Canadian Organic Popcorn Company
- Davison Orchards
- Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen
- Okanagan Spring Brewery
- Okanagan Spirits
- Marten Brewing
- Planet Bee Honey Farm and Meadery
- Vernon Farmers' Market