As we harvest this year’s crop of Arctic® apples from trees planted in Washington and New York State over a decade ago, we’ve had lots of eager consumers ask “When the heck are we actually going to be able to buy them?!?”
Well believe us; we’re as anxious as you are! When it comes to the rigorous deregulation process, it’s tough to provide exact dates, though we’ve been given every indication that Arctic apples will be officially approved for deregulation in both Canada and the U.S. within the next 6 months (likely sooner!).
While we wish that meant we’d be able to offer Arctic® Granny and Arctic® Golden in every grocery store across both countries as soon as they’re approved, it’s not quite that simple. When commercial apple trees are planted (following nursery propagation) they produce little-to-no fruit the first year or two, and even then, it takes several more years of gradually increasing yields before they reach full potential.
This is an oversimplification, though, as the length of time required can be heavily influenced by growing location, planting density, soil, weather, rootstock selection and numerous other factors. However, even in the best case scenario, you can see why it takes a few years before there’s enough fruit to reach a wide range of consumers!
We have roughly 500 trees growing in our field trials in Washington State and New York State, and although some of our potential orchard partners will be planting Arctic trees soon, or already have, the majority of growers are waiting for commercial approval. There are no worries on that front, as everything is proceeding smoothly (if a bit slower than we’d like…), so we expect to see many more trees planted this coming spring.
So, what does all this mean for you? It means that we’re still on track to have small test quantities of fruit available in late 2014, followed by small commercial volumes in select markets (which haven’t been chosen just yet) by 2015. Each year going forward there should be more and more fruit in a wider range of locations, and we’ll be doing all we can to make them available to those who want them most.
We’ll be sure to share any key updates on Arctic apple availability on our website (in addition to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn), so follow along with us as we get closer to bringing you nonbrowning apples – we promise they’re worth the wait!