BC Fruit Grower Perspective: Arctic® apples meet an industry need

Guest blogger, orchardist and agricultural scientist Dr. David Lane provides his opinion on why Arctic® apples can provide a valuable consumption trigger for the North American apple industry:  The introduction of the nonbrowning trait in Arctic® apples is a great example of valuable and forward looking technology. Apple consumption in North America has been on the decline for far too long and the apple industry needs new and improved products to compete. Fruit offerings from the sub-tropics and increasing apple production in countries overseas (China now makes up nearly 50% of global production) are further reducing the economic viability of
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BC Fruit Grower Perspective: Arctic® apples and cross-pollination

We are very pleased to have esteemed agricultural scientist and orchardist Dr. David Lane share his thoughts on Arctic® apples as a guest blogger for www.arcticapples.com. You may recall that we also shared Dr. Lane’s letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in early July and we hope to have him share his expertise on a variety of topics relating to Arctic apples again soon. For this entry, Dr. Lane provides his opinion on cross-pollination concerns: As was outlined in my submission to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Arctic® apples are a tremendously valuable and innovative solution to a
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Consumer Research: What makes a perfect apple?

Being a company that’s led by an apple grower, we know what it takes to grow great fruit. There are many things to love about apples, but which qualities are the most significant to consumers? We asked 1,000 self-identified apple eaters to rate the importance they place on some of the key apple characteristics to see if they matched the qualities offered by Arctic® apples (spoiler: they do!). What do consumers want from their apples more than anything else? Flavor of course! There are tons of varieties out there, each with their own unique flavor profile. If you’re an avid
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Arctic® Apples: Good for the Grower

One question we at Okanagan Specialty Fruits are frequently asked is why we chose to develop a nonbrowning apple rather than an apple with an agronomic benefit? There are many pests that growers would love to combat with biotechnology, such as fire blight and apple scab. As a grower-led company, we certainly sympathize with these challenges and it is important to us to provide value to our fellow growers, as well as to consumers. Though our core intent with the nonbrowning trait was to spur consumption by making apples more convenient for consumers, we knew they would also benefit the
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Arctic®, conventional and organic apple trees can coexist (part 2)

Following up on our January blog, we would like to further address why Arctic®, conventional and organic trees can successfully coexist. As previously explained (see blog and FAQ), apple trees are propogated by grafting, not seed, are pollinated by bees, not wind, and don’t escape and grow in the wild. The risk of cross-pollination is minimal, and we further mitigate that risk with our strict stewardship standards (e.g., requirements for hive placement, buffer rows). And, in the unlikely event cross-pollination did occur, only traces of Arctic material would be present in some of the seeds. Consider the statement by Robert
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Arctic® apples provide foodservice market opportunities

A recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service found that food prepared and consumed away from home “accounted for 42 percent of American household’s food budgets and 32 percent of calorie intake during 2005-08.” Convenience foods are more often associated with high-calorie snacks and fast food products than fruits and vegetables. However, as obesity rates continue to rise, this trend is changing. Healthy, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables are a big part of the solution and foodservice applications for produce items such as avocadoes have proven incredibly successful. By “extending fresh…avocado awareness and generating new menu applications” national and regional promotions
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You can help! U.S. government now seeking public input on Arctic® apples

Good news! We are happy to announce that the U.S. government has opened their review of our nonbrowning Arctic® apples for public input. You can read our official press release announcing the news here. (We’ve previously blogged about the process to approve biotechnology foods in the United States here and updated here.) We are very pleased to be able to finally share with you the extensive science-based information that we were required to collect by this federal agency. This day has been 15 years in the making for our little company! And we are honored to be one of the
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Arctic® Apples help show fruits’ true quality

We have heard some people wonder, “since Arctic® apples are nonbrowning, won’t that mean older and lower quality fruit can look better than it really is?” The answer is that not only will Arctic® apples rot just like other apples, they also don’t show superficial damage which makes it much easier to tell when an apple really has gone bad. As discussed before, we have silenced the gene sequence that controls the production of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), which initiates enzymatic browning in apples. Enzymatic browning (a.k.a. primary browning) occurs when an apple’s cells are damaged, such as through cutting, bruising or
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Cross pollination concerns? Don’t bee-lieve it!

A concern some people have about crops produced through biotechnology is the potential for cross-pollination of these crops with conventional or organic crops. In our case, bees pollinate Apple blossoms; so some wonder what’s to stop the bees from carrying pollen from Arctic® apples to other orchards? A very good question, but luckily, we have a very good answer! Apple blossoms must be pollinated through the transfer of pollen by bees. Bees carry an apple flower’s male reproductive cells to the “stigma”, the female reproductive part of a flower. Since orchards often have thousands of trees, LOTS of bees are needed!
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