Modern Apple Growing

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 Sprawling trees have been replaced by smaller, more productive ones in high-density orchards.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,
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Arctic® Fuji Apple Receives Canadian Approval

Summerland, B.C., Canada – Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.’s (OSF) third nonbrowning Arctic® apple variety, Arctic® Fuji, has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC). The CFIA and HC announced today that the Arctic® Fuji variety “did not pose a greater risk to human health than apples currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that the Arctic® Fuji apple would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of the Arctic® Fuji apple compared to other traditional apple varieties available for consumption”. Arctic® Fuji trees will join
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GMO Communication (Part 2): A ripe educational opportunity

Last week I shared some of the personal experiences that have shaped my understanding of GMO perceptions. This week, I will be talking about the importance of biotech champions, and some of the most important lessons we’ve learned for effectively sharing information on GMOs in a way that resonates with a wide, diverse audience. Bridging the communications gap In January 2015 Pew Research found that 88% of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) say GE foods are generally safe, but 57% of U.S. adults aren’t so sure. Months earlier, the International Food Information Council (IFIC)
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GMO communication (Part 1): The juice is worth the squeeze

Over fifteen years before the first nonbrowning Arctic® apple variety was even approved in the U.S. and Canada, my family and I received a rude awakening regarding how big a challenge we had gotten ourselves into. Activists angry about the development of GMO apples had hacked over 650 of our young apple trees down. These particular trees weren’t even genetically engineered, but the activists either didn’t realize or simply didn’t care! Being involved in agriculture for over three decades, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from the weather, pests and even people. And, while I’m happy to say the attack
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Arctic® Fuji Gains USDA Approval

  Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ (OSF) third nonbrowning Arctic® apple variety, the Arctic® Fuji, has been granted deregulated status by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS).  Arctic® Fuji apples have been found to be as safe and nutritious as conventional apples, joining OSF’s Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny varieties. “The response to Arctic® Fuji apples and our overall platform to deliver direct benefits to consumers has been encouraging,” said Neal Carter, Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ founder and president.  “We are confident the positive feedback we have received will translate to the marketplace.” The approval follows
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Apple picking robots not just a sci-fi fantasy

The idea of apple picking being assisted by cutting-edge robotic harvesting machines is gaining attention, and Arctic® apples could be a perfect fit with mechanical harvesting. While interest in these types of technologies is far from brand new (especially for sorting recently picked fruit), there’s been a lot of buzz in 2015 about some significant leaps forward in innovative machinery that can improve harvest efficiency. And, this is not simply a matter of amusing toys, mechanical harvesting can help address real issues. For example, labor shortages are a frequent problem in major apple producing regions like Washington State, where 18 billion
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Seeking an end to a negative consumption trend

“Apple consumption needs a boost” read a headline in “Good Fruit Grower” magazine earlier this month, and we couldn’t agree more! According to respected agricultural economist Dr. Desmond O’Rourke, per-capita consumption of apples has been declining fairly steadily for 20 years, partially due to increased competition from other fruits and snacks. And, while the article focuses primarily on the marketing of Washington apples specifically, we believe Dr. O’Rourke’s comment that “there’s nobody really trying to expand the market for apples in general” is cause for concern if we’re expecting apple consumption to really take off! In the apple industry, there’s
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Creating a bigger piece of the (apple) pie

As we often say, boosting apple consumption is a goal everyone supports. We all know apples are extremely healthy, and preferable to other popular snacks like candy and chips. Plus, they’re high in fiber which can help apple-eaters feel fuller than alternatives with “empty” calories – clearly a major benefit with the obesity crisis. Great, we all agree! So what? Everyone knows fruits and veggies are good for us but even amidst frequent calls to eat 7 servings a day, or at least 5, the average U.S. consumer eats less than 3. The produce industry’s challenge is to make consumers
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