There has never been a more interesting time than now to grow food. Technology provides farmers with tools to better manage risk and science offers possibilities to help answer challenges faced around the world. In the conversation of ‘how do we feed ourselves’, even us apple growers can heed the call.
Apples are one of the most wasted foods in the fresh food supply chain, with up to 40% not making it to store shelves. Our nonbrowning Arctic® apples are one solution in finding a way to help reduce this number.
What happens to apples that don’t make our fresh slice packages or, eventually, whole fruit sales? This is where the ApBitz™ snack story begins.
In the orchard
Our orchards are young. After years (so many years) of research and studies, our first commercial orchards were planted in 2015. After some early sampling in 2016, the inaugural harvest in fall 2017 destined for stores was small.
Younger trees often produce fruit of less consistent size. We knew that once the apples were picked and sorted for our fresh slices, the ones that were too big or too small would be perfect for our next big idea: dried apples.
Less food wasted
As we grow our apple orchards, these smaller initial harvests mean we haven’t yet oodles of fruit to share across the land with eager apple lovers.
Timing our dried apple snacks to follow in the footsteps of our fresh slice launch helps us to reduce our own food waste and allow more people across the U.S. get their hands on our apples.
How they’re made
Our apples arrive in bins from the orchards and go through an optical sorter to determine size, color, and quality before entering a big water bath. In fact, our apple highway is all water to keep them fresh and crisp.
Once apples are in their like-sized teams, those destined to be ApBitz™ snacks travel to a high-tech slicer and get fry-cut. After that it’s flat-sheet dehydration time.
Just like with apple breeding techniques, dehydration technology has advanced in recent years. When making our ApBitz™ dried apples we knew they had to be crisp and keep all their apple flavor.
It took a lot of trial runs to learn what moisture content gave us what we wanted: a crisp snap with a taste that’s all apple, and no preservatives.
More people eating more apples
When farmers grow food they want people to eat it. Our orchardist founders Neal and Louisa have always wanted more people to eat more apples. So as we wait for our commercial orchards to catch up, ApBitz™ snacks are one way for us to share the apple love far and wide.