Okanagan Specialty Fruits' President Neal Carter Discusses Autumn Apple Harvest
SUMMERLAND, BC, CANADA - Apples are one of those staple items that scream fall to me. It’s impossible to enter this season without thinking of scrumptious apple varieties that make consumers delirious with nostalgia—and I mean this delirium in the best way possible. I caught up with Okanagan Speciality Fruits, whose President Neal Carter clued me in on the company’s harvest, volume, and more. Be prepared to catch some of that apple fever!
“It is quickly approaching our favorite time of the season—harvest! After a year of hard work, we will finally be able to start enjoying the fruits of our labor, literally,” Neal told me. “Our orchard crews are busy preparing to harvest this year’s crop of Arctic® Goldens and Arctic® Grannys. Both varieties will be picked in the next month or so, dependent on when our orchard manager determines they have reached the perfect level of sweet or tart.”
Neal also explained to me that Okanagan is seeing a significant jump in its volume over last year, a whopping 8.5 million pounds from the 2019 crop, a substantial volume increase over the 1.7 million pounds produced in 2018. The company has also been rapidly plating trees in its orchards, with approximately 1,235 acres of trees in the ground.
“This is the first harvest where our volume will support our introduction into the foodservice industry, so we are certainly looking forward to that, along with expanding our retail availability,” he shared. “We are introducing a new 40 oz package size suited perfectly for foodservice and retailer’s fresh cut programs. Operators can now include apples in their prepared veggie, fruit or cheese trays/cups. Arctic apples do not brown and will maintain their freshness almost a week longer than pre-sliced conventional apples. The flavor of Arctic apples is refreshing without the off flavors that are noticed on conventional apples treated with preservatives. Showcasing products with recipe cards can be a creative way to demonstrate the versatility of Arctic apple slices and increase sales.”
As more retailers and foodservice establishments recognize the value of Okanagan’s apples’ nonbrowning traits, Neal told me that buyers should also be aware of the company’s vertically-integrated status.
“We are extremely proud of the state-of-the-art technology on our orchards and that we grow our Arctic apples specifically for slicing. This really sets us apart from the rest and provides an unparalleled sliced apple product that stays orchard fresh longer,” he remarked.
Given that there’s nothing quite like apples during the fall, this is an important program for buyers to be aware of.
Keep reading AndNowUKnow for the latest in what’s happening in crops, harvest, and more.