In our four-part series highlighting why the first two Arctic® apples – Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny – are poised to revitalize two amazing varieties, we’ve previously focused on the Arctic® Golden. We now turn to why the nonbrowning trait makes the Arctic® Granny well suited to put Grannies back among leading apple varieties:
An apple by any other name…
First of all – yes, there was a real Granny Smith! The apple’s namesake was a prominent figure in colonial Australia in the mid-1800s. After discovering the new variety – a chance seedling on her small orchard property – she found it to be a wonderful apple for both cooking and eating fresh.
As an interesting aside, because the first Granny Smith tree received its unique characteristics from a rare mutation, its seeds don’t carry many of the original’s desirable features. Instead, they tend to produce tart, unappealing apples. So, all Granny Smith apple trees growing today are derived from cuttings of the original tree in Sydney (see more on apple propagation via grafting here)! And from these unique origins, Granny Smith’s apples quickly became a big hit in her community, though it would be years before they’d take off in North America…
A rise to prominence
By the early 1980s, Granny Smith apples were starting to gain popularity in North American thanks to Australian imports (where Grannies made up ~40% of the entire apple crop!) and consumers became hooked. Thus, Granny Smith production steadily increased over the next couple decades, climbing into the top-5 U.S. varieties in the early 90s and staying there ever since.
Opportunities lie ahead
In our profile of Golden Delicious and their unfortunate decrease in popularity, the supply chain issues they face and how the nonbrowning trait can help overcome them was a central theme. That’s not exactly the case for Granny Smith, as while they have faced increased competition from other varieties, their production has remained fairly steady, only slightly lower today than their peak in the mid-2000s.
Perhaps that’s because, as Orange Pippin suggests, they’re the single “most instantly recognized of all apples”. This iconic status is well earned thanks to their distinctive taste and green coloring, along with their refreshing crispness. They’re even ranked as one of the healthiest varieties due to their particularly high antioxidant and phenolic levels. Plus, they also store as well as nearly any commercial variety!
So, rather than the nonbrowning Arctic® advantage addressing supply-chain problems like for Goldens, the variety-specific value Arctic® Grannies offer, is that they play to the natural strengths of Granny Smith. As we’ll explain in next week’s post, we’re sure nonbrowning will help take this delectable variety to new heights!