Straight From DeHart - March 17, 2021

Francesca Farms was born in the basement of Todd Swaby and Christina Allan’s residence. Through Todd’s job loss during COVID, he took a change in course. With an interest in microgreens, a lot of research, and trial and error, Todd produced his first harvest last December. With an opportunity to be at the Farmer’s Market, Todd jumped in with both feet and converted their garage into a true microgreens grow area. Along with health benefits, microgreens elevate a normal meal to new heights with their beauty, taste, and vibrant colour and are free from all pesticides and fertilizers. Currently, Francesca is selling radish, broccoli, speckled pea, yellow mustard, and purple kohlrabi as well as a mild mix and cilantro. Embracing his culinary skills, Todd is creating some specialty products, making a pea shoot pesto as well as a Wannable Wasabi created by using spicy radish microgreens. Both are 100% vegan. They also sell a pea shoot Gomae salad kit with their homemade peanut sesame dressing. Francesca Farms are vendors at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market at Parkinson Rec Centre, soon to be at the outdoor location and will be at the East Kelowna Market on Sundays beginning April 4th. Home delivery is also offered by emailing The Francesca Farms name is an homage to their dog that they miss dearly.    

Vice-President of Design and Sales, Ron Kushneryk is celebrating 25 years with AcuTruss Industries in the West Kelowna location, at 1854 Byland Road. AcuTruss has been in business for 50 years, founded by Dave Marcoux. Ron, along with partners Rob VorosBrian Greenslade, and General Manager, Barry Schick, have offices in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon, and Kamloops, and an office and manufacturing plant in Lake Country. The company manufactures a wide range of products including, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and residential roof trusses, and floor trusses. They also offer insulated concrete forms, laminated beams, machine stress-rated lumber, and metal roofing. AcuTruss is one of the only company’s in BC that manufactures engineered I-Joists (AcuJoist). 

Art Lovers Gallery is located in the lobby of the Delta Grand Hotel and home to the world-famous Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. President, DJ Block, along with sales curator, David Church, and new social media team member Jessie Huckabay, have rebranded and redecorated the gallery to showcase these highly collectible limited editions in new and fresh ways. Kelowna is home to the only gallery in Western Canada where you can view and purchase artworks from the amazing Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. Many people are surprised to learn that not only was Dr. Seuss America’s most popular author of all time, but he was also an influential artist. With memories of reading his inspirational and uplifting books, Art Lovers is committed to keeping this life-changing legacy of innocence and delight alive through the artworks. Private or virtual tours are available.

Many things have changed since Delphine Stone went to nursing school more than 60 years ago, but she is sure one element still holds true: the positive role education plays in one’s life. In honour of the value of education, Delphine is donating $50,000 to the Our Students, Your Health Campaign for a new Health Sciences Centre on the Okanagan College Kelowna campus. Delphine remembers receiving a $100.00 award from the Hospital Auxiliary that paid for her registration to nursing school. I am honoured to be the Campaign Ambassador for this project. To learn more or to donate visit  

Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA) has a new Board of Directors for 2021. Congratulations to President, Jamie Needham of Interior Savings. Directors are Nick Aubin, Aubin & Associates; Justin Bullock, OK Tire; Ruby Dulay, Centex Gas; Laura Fitzsimmons, Lux Homes; June Forman, MCC Thrift Shop; Jon Garratt, Whisk Cake Co.; Chris Gayford, Cheeba Cheeba’s/Mary Jane’s Headquarters; Navjit Khun Khun, Benson Law; Domenic Rampone, Mara Lumber Home Building Centre and Nancy Wells, KGH Foundation/Rutland Thrift Store. Ex Officio Directors are Councillor Brad Sieben, the City of Kelowna, and Kevin MacDougall, RCMP Community Policing. Karen Beaubier is the executive Director of URBA.   

Kudos to Peter Teschner, owner/builder of Cherry Lane Homes Ltd., on giving his 200th blood donation at Canadian Blood Services. Peter has been regularly donating blood every 56 days for over 30 years, which is six donations per year for 33 years. Next month, the new plasma clinic donation center will open in Orchard Park, which means donors can donate every 28 days. Peter plans on donating more blood per year by donating plasma, as he will be able to donate 13 times per year.     

Co-executive director of Her International, Tamara McLellan will step away from her role as of March 31st. Fellow co-executive director Kate Phelps will step fully into the executive director role. Tamara looks forward to continuing to support the organization from the sidelines as she builds her business. Ann Haymond Hill is the president of the organization.

Happy 65th Anniversary Wren and Brenda Torgerson (March 17).

Twenty-five women have formed a new Okanagan Angel Investment Fund that will focus on correcting the gender imbalance faced by women-owned businesses when seeking investment and increasing the number of women who are active start-up company investors. The new Okanagan Women’s Mentoring and Angel Network (WMAN) will begin accepting applications from women-founded, led, or co-led businesses from the region. Their goal is to increase the number of women angel investors, remedy the gender gap in start-up funding, and aid women business owners who are bearing the brunt of economic fallout from the pandemic. The five general partners and investors with operational responsibility for the investment fund, are Carollynn Schafer, LLB, Schafer Law; Sherri Faloon, Retired, self-employed, HJF Capital Corp.; Rose Bharani, Rose Bharani Advisory Services; Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FC, CPA, CA, Partner MNP LLP, and Camille Saltman, Managing Director, Entrepreneurship UBC Okanagan. Applications for funding can be sent to 

Automotive trades students at Okanagan College are getting a big boost for their education with the arrival of a shiny new training tool on which they can hone their skills. Ford of Canada and Orchard Ford have donated a 2020 Ford F-150 to the college to be used by students in its automotive service training programs. The donation is part of a nation-wide initiative in which Ford of Canada is donating a total of 95 vehicles to educational institutions across the country. In addition to the vehicle, Ford of Canada is also providing students and faculty in the automotive service training program with access to their online Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) training. Trevor Pollon is the general manager of Orchard Ford and Steve Moores is the Dean of Trades. Automotive Service Technician Foundation Student James Midtdal will be one of the first students to have a chance to work on the vehicle.  

Peachland Ramps Up! The entrance to the wonders that await visitors to Peachland’s Historic School is getting a new look. Funds are being raised to install a barrier-free, accessible area so everyone will be able to enjoy what the building and its surroundings have to offer. The Peachland Community Arts Council, one of the tenants of the building is in full agreement. The plaza will have the additional benefit of creating outdoor meeting space for displays, celebratory events, and other gatherings. The raise the funds, which is estimated at $500,000, PHSAPS is applying for grants, seeking corporate sponsorship, and having fundraising events including a crowdfunding appeal using the Wayblaze platform and a peach ribbon campaign. Livingstone is the Arts Council President. To learn more or to support the project visit  

This spring break, why not get outside and active by visiting any of the 30 Regional Parks across the Central Okanagan. Each day during spring break, knowledgeable park interpreters will be walking the trails in many of the parks. With masks and physical distancing, they will gladly answer any questions you might have and perhaps share some park secrets. As well, visitors to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO) in Mission Creek Regional Park can pick up materials to help discover bird watching.

Birthdays of the week – Happy 60th Tracy Gilbert (Mar. 22); Happy 50th Natasha Frappier (Mar. 23); DJ Block (Mar. 17); Matt Cherrille (Mar. 17); Trevor Pollon (Mar. 17); John Clarke (Mar. 18); Mike Koutsantonis (Mar. 18); Corrie Meere (Mar. 18); Bert Gee (Mar. 19); Ryan Smith (Mar. 19); Rachel Renaud (Mar. 19); Garry Benson (Mar. 19); Matt Wachter (Mar. 19); Karen Beaubier (Mar. 20); Kent Molgat (Mar. 20); Frank Singer (Mar. 21); Matthew Jensen (Mar. 21); Jim Ross (Mar. 23); Ariel Tyk (Mar. 22); Dale Safinuk (Mar. 23); Martin Mills (Mar. 23).
Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna City Councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662; E-mail and web-site