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The End of an Era

Black and white photo of a young woman riding a bicycle. A wooden building with a loading door is in the background.

Doris Gleed, 1930s


The role of women in the packinghouse has changed since the early days, from the beginnings of Lake Country’s orchards through the technological changes of the 1950s. The struggles and successes of the pioneer applebox belles paved the way for today’s women to have equality and opportunity.

Black and white photo of two young women sitting on pilings over a lake.

Yoshiko Kobayashi and Mary Carter, 1940s

The Winfield packinghouse still employs women who continue to sort and pack the apples from Lake Country and the Okanagan valley. Women are also supervisors and managers. If you visit the packinghouse today, you will find women in every part of packinghouse work. Today’s belles still enjoy the camaraderie of the work as they pack millions of apples each season.


The faithful belles of the past founded a legacy of memories in Lake Country’s orchard industry. On a quiet day in the packinghouse, if you listen carefully, you might still hear the applebox belles of days gone by calling out, “Three-two-five-five-125 apples in this box.”

Black and white photo of three women walking along a path next to a one-story wooden building. Two women are facing forward, away from the photographer and the third is looking back over her shoulder.

Nora Carter, Yoshi Kobayashi, and Kate at the Okanagan Valley Land Company camp, 1948