Science and technology are advancing at a rapid pace, making life easier and more convenient. Agriculture sees its share of these benefits but the true advantage is realized when we can find our way to a place where old and new meet in harmony.
Apple growing has changed. Sprawling trees have been replaced by smaller, more productive ones in high-density orchards. Gone is water-wasting overhead irrigation in favor of more efficient drip systems. Through it all, a few things remain the same – sometimes getting a helping hand.
Grafted, not seeded
Apple seeds are a genetically creative group. If planted, they express themselves in unexpected ways that reflect different traits of their pollinator parents. To maintain cultivar consistency, most commercial orchards today are planted with seedlings grafted on rootstock.
Have a look at the bottom of a tree the next time you pass an orchard. See that little bulge? Grafting.
Bee-autiful Pollination aka making apples
Bees are the hardworking heroes at every farm. Apple trees require pollination between blossoms (not by wind) from other apple varieties. Most farmers have a few generous pollinators – like crabapple trees – planted in their orchards to help.
Not enough pollen results in low yields and small or misshapen fruit. Fun fact: it can take 50,000-60,000 bees to pollinate four acres of orchard.
Help for a healthy crop
Nature does most of the heavy lifting, but everyone can use help now and then. Thinning fruit early in the season can promote good and consistent apple quality, making sure the tree isn’t overburdened. Specialized orchard covers can prevent damage from late spring hail and reduce sun scorching.
We use these sustainable farming practices, and more.
This is when some of the old world meets new. Our apples are still harvested by hand to maintain quality, with the fruit carefully placed into large field bins.
Full bins are transported to a specialized cold warehouse for sorting, packing, and storing or shipping. Each apple gets our Arctic® seal to guarantee that it’s our authentic nonbrowning apple. No Arctic® logo? Not our apple.
When you next pick up an apple from the grocer, take a moment to think of all the steps involved in modern apple growing. And thank a farmer for keeping one foot in the old world while taking a step into the new.