2018: To a Sustainable and Healthy Planet

The start of a new year can bring with it a refocus on goals and a revisit of what’s important. Here at Okanagan Specialty Fruits Ltd. (OSF), one of our guiding principles is keeping true to our roots as we grow sustainable new ways of reducing food waste.

What does being sustainable look like? From orchard irrigation to packaging choices, our commitment to a healthy earth is in every aspect of our work – starting with a simple apple.

Nonbrowning Arctic® apples

When Neal and Louisa began OSF in 1996, they started looking beyond the orchard and down the food chain. Apples get bruised and blemished along the way so a high number don’t reach their destination. As a bioresource engineer, Neal saw a problem to solve: reduce the chance of apples becoming food waste from the start.

  • Less Waste, More Food: With almost 40% of apples ending up as food waste along the supply chain, Arctic® apples can help to make better use of the land we farm. So, more of what we grow is available for people to eat.
  • Biotech, Food, and Resource Management: We can talk about the food-centric benefits of our apples but, really, they’re a small part of the larger picture in how science is helping to make a positive impact on the global issues of resource management and hunger relief.

“There’s growing evidence that genetically modified plants might be another sustainable option. A 2014 analysis of 147 publications found that GM technology has reduced pesticide use by 37 percent and increase crop yields by 22 percent.”  ~ Science Alert

Sustainability = Science + Environmentally Mindful Practices

As we aim to reduce food waste through growing nonbrowning Arctic® apples, sustainability is one of our core principles (apple pun, sorry). This guides the choices we make every day. Here are just a few of the ways we keep our commitment to being good citizens of Planet Earth.

  • Irrigation: It’s a big part of apple growing, so we use moisture sensors to optimize watering in our orchards and reduce water consumption.
  • Sun (and hail) Screen: Seasonal surprises are no fun in the field, but they’re an inevitable part of farming. We mitigate damage from hail and sunburn by using state-of-the-art orchard covers. Less damaged fruit brings more apples to market.
  • Pest Control: While beneficial bugs are always welcome, we use pheromone dispensers to reduce unwanted pests so we can be less reliant on sprays.
  • Green Packaging: Using soy-based inks with recyclable cartons and packaging means Arctic® apples are surrounded with green love while they journey from our orchard to your store shelf.

Healthy Living

Fewer wasted apples means more are available to eat, and as growers we want people to eat more apples. Fresh cut for on-the-go, on your favorite salad or in their natural state, apples are full of goodness. In the spirit of making good food choices to support healthy living, here are some of our favorite meals – with apples, of course.

Arctic® Apple Kale Salad

Avocado Toast with Arctic® Apples (and optional eggs)

Dessert Nachos with Sweet Arctic® Apple Salsa

Arctic® Apple & Peanut Butter Wraps

As we look toward the opportunities that a new year brings, we keep in mind what motivated Neal and Louisa to start us on this journey in the first place. Here’s to a bright future with fewer wasted apples and a healthier everyone, including (and especially) our most valuable resource.

 

 

About Jeannette LeBlanc

Jeannette LeBlanc is the Communications Specialist for Okanagan Specialty Fruits, and lives in the sunny Okanagan Valley. She has a keen interest in sustainable food systems and the people working on responsible ways to help feed the planet.

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