Bill Sandher came to Canada with little more than a few dollars and a dream. From that he’s built one of the Okanagan’s most successful fruit farm and packig business.
“The Indian community is really hardworking and are willing to take a risk,” Sandher said.
Bill Sandher was 18 when he moved from Punjab to the Okanagan Valley in 1982 with his father and younger brother, seeking better economic opportunities.
In 1989, apple grower Andy Hartman, in Kelowna, offered to let the brothers farm his land on lease. Prices were low and work was hard. Several times they considered moving on from agriculture, Sandher said. In 1995, frustrated and now married, Sandher made up his mind to replant the entire orchard. At the time, the provincial government helped subsidize replant projects.
By then, Hartman had, over the years, taught the brothers about chemical sprays and horticulture, and he realized his three children were not interested in farming. With only a handshake sealing the deal, he agreed to sell the farm to the Sandhers for no payments for 12 years.
Eventually, the Sandhers found success and expanded.
To this day, Sander considers the trust and kindness of Hartman, the man who sold him his first orchard on a handshake, the key ingredient in his family’s success.