The 1st Arctic® varieties: Rebranding Goldens (Part 1)

We often talk about “Arctic® apples” in general terms, but we want to hone in on what makes each of the first two Arctic® varieties – Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny – awesome in their own unique ways! So, over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at why the nonbrowning trait is a particularly good fit for these cultivars, starting with Goldens.

An Instant Classic

After being discovered as a chance seedling in the 1890s, Golden Delicious quickly rose to prominence as one of the most important apples in existence. Iconic thanks to its coloring and sweet, rich flavor profile, Goldens have also served as one of the most often used apples in breeding programs.Arctic Golden

And, while Red Delicious are far and away the most grown apple in the U.S. throughout the last century, Goldens have been the clear-cut #2. In fact, twice as many Goldens were grown as the third place varieties from 1980-1999 (McIntosh in the 80s and Granny Smith in the 90s).

Nothing gold(en) can stay?

In the early 2000s, Golden Delicious production reached its lowest levels in decades. By 2006, they’d lost their long-held spot at #2 to Galas, and since then they’ve comprised around 10% of total U.S. apples produced. That’s not to say Goldens are on the fast track out the door, but it’s clear that many popular, newer varieties have taken a big bite out of their popularity amongst both growers and consumers. So why is that?

Competition & challenges

While some may attribute the falling regard for Goldens to increased competition, that’s not the whole story. After all, Goldens are one of the only widely recognized yellow apples, are among the best tasting apples when grown and stored properly, have great versatility, and are relatively easy to grow.

Orange Pippin suggests that one reason they’ve trended in the wrong direction is that Goldens are often not picked at the ideal time, which negatively impacts their flavor. Additionally, while Goldens are praised for storing very well, they are frequently stored much longer than many other varieties and longer than they ideally should be stored in general!

Another notable drawback is that Goldens are among the lightest skinned apples, so they readily show bruises and scuff marks obtained in their journey from tree to consumer, and especially during the packing stage. To counter that, they are often warmed up prior to packing, which makes them a bit softer and less prone to bruising. Unfortunately, this also makes them more expensive to pack, and worse still, they permanently lose some of their crunch, which means a less desirable eating experience.

A golden solution

So, we can see that Goldens are not being held back because of any inherent variety characteristics – they taste and look great while also growing and storing well – but because delivering this great apple to consumers is trickier than most. Luckily, the nonbrowning trait of our Arctic® Goldens addresses these supply chain issues, and in our next post we will explore why Arctic® Goldens can help restore Golden’s shining reputation!

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About Joel Brooks

Growing up in the Okanagan Valley, Joel had the opportunity to experience apple growing first hand, a background that helped lead him to his role as Product & Special Projects Manager. Joel feels privileged to work with such great people towards a goal that’s so easy to get behind – helping people to eat more apples!