Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting 10 dietitians and bloggers in eastern Washington. We set out to #explorearcticapples and learn more about the work that goes into not only Arctic® apples, but every apple you see in the grocery store.
We kicked off the tour with a get to know you event featuring recipes that included apples right down to the cupcakes. I also got the chance to let my inner nerd out and show everyone how to extract DNA using strawberries, pineapple juice, and alcohol – you can learn how to do it here.
In the morning we kicked off our tour by getting to the root of the story. We learned that commercial apple trees are really two different trees: the root bottom and the fruiting top. The bottom tree has high quality roots that make the trees smaller so that more apples can be produced per acre. The top of the tree produces the fruit you know and love.
From there, we headed to our orchard to learn about Arctic® apples and modern apple production. Founder Neal Carter shared the story of Arctic® apples with everyone, and then they received a primer on how and when fruit is harvested. We then settled down to lunch in the orchard, with Arctic® apples throughout the menu of course!
Our last stop was a look at how whole apples are processed into bags and boxes for the grocery store and your table. Apples come to the packer fresh from the orchard to be washed and graded to ensure the apples in the store are of the best quality, while lower quality apples are sent for slicing or juicing.
I truly enjoyed sharing a part of the apple industry with this amazing group! It was a fantastic opportunity to not only share our story, but listen to the questions and ideas these bright women had about apples, farming, and food in general. I can’t wait to do this again next year!