Producer Profiles: Meet Over The Hill Orchards
Welcome back to Producer Profiles!
This week’s feature is a love story: Dean and Sylvia Kreutzer really love each other and they also love fruit trees. It sounds like a simple story, but creating an entire orchard full of things that “just don’t grow in Saskatchewan” is a long, and ultimately sweet, tale.
Dean and Sylvia threw off the city life (along with Dean’s former job in computer programming) to go live in the country and start an orchard. Sylvia may have been prepared for their new life, as she grew up on a farm, but it took some adjusting for Dean. They leaned on each other and have made a complete life change to become organic fruit growers right here in southern Saskatchewan. They threw themselves into learning as much as they could about fruit cultivation, and Dean took courses from the University of Saskatchewan to get the basics in plant anatomy and fruit production. It was not an easy choice or an easy transition, as Dean recalls on their web site:
“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!”
The Kreutzers persist, though: in addition to the berries that do well in our climate (blueberries and raspberries and strawberries), Over The Hill orchards always has intriguing horticultural experiments going on, from peaches to trying out almonds last season. They have perfected the products made from the berries they grow, and their spreads and toppings taste just like summer whenever you use them.
The Kreutzers’ love story eventually grew to include their two children, who are growing up in a Saskatchewan orchard. May they live happily ever after!
Search “Over The Hill” on our site to see all of their products, or use these links to quickly jump to just a few of the products we carry, including their Prairie Cherry Dark Delights – perfect to delight your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day!