Paynter’s Fruit Market has been a part of the Westbank community for 65 years. The Paynters first got into the fruit business in 1926, when Henry Paynter cleared the land and started planting fruit trees, while the public market first opened in the 1950s and is still family owned and operated today. Their operation has expanded over the years, and now they offer much more than fruit in their market store. They are the third stop on the Westside Farm Loop.
We arrived at Paynter’s and it was packed! You could feel the excited energy in the air. Locals and visitors alike were stopping in to grab fresh produce, pick fruit, or beat the heat with a hard ice cream cone! We were welcomed by Jennay, who took over the family business in 2007. She is passionate about her work, her family history, and their contributions to the community. Jennay admitted that farming wasn’t “cool” when she was growing up, but she could not be happier doing what she loves every day. The recent movement to shop locally has also renewed her appreciation for her work and for the beautiful place that we live in. This passion is evident in her staff as well, who enjoy learning about farming and view the experience as more than just a summer job.
We headed out into the orchards to wander through the peach trees as Jennay explained that they grow several different varieties of peaches. We had the opportunity to try some white flesh peaches; they are sweet, extra juicy, and very soft! Paynter’s sells these peaches through U-Pick only, so that they are not bruised from overhandling. They also grow yellow watermelon! Their fruit trees are identified with coloured ribbons so visitors know exactly where to find the best selection of fruit for picking. During the season, they grow cherries, apricots, plums, pears, and apples!
Paynter’s has more to offer than fruit. The surrounding properties grow vegetables, including zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash, kale, and cilantro, that they sell in store. They also source additional fruit and veggies from other B.C. growers, always adhering to their promise that everything they sell in store is produced in our province. You can find local cheese, butter, milk, and other tasty treats. On a hot summer day when you need to cool down, you will find 32 flavours of hard ice cream. If ice cream isn’t your thing, they also have an espresso bar and they make smoothies!
Our staff had an incredible time talking with Jennay about her family history and the evolution of Paynter’s Fruit Market. They are open 7 days a week from 8am to 9pm, June to November.