As regular readers will know, my husband Neal and I are, above all else apple growers to the core. We spend way more time in our orchard than behind our desks, and truly embrace the orchardist lifestyle.
When we founded OSF back in 1996, it certainly wasn’t to make a quick buck – 17 years later and we still have a couple years to wait before the Arctic® apple, our first product, is available in stores! Our motivation is to help our fellow growers and apple industry members produce more high-quality fruit and help address the flat-to-declining apple consumption across North America.
More than anything else, we want to see our industry succeed so that growers don’t have to cut down their orchards because they aren’t profitable. Growers, packers, and retailers are watching huge amounts of apples get thrown out because of the browning issue (not to mention many other pests – we’re working on that too!). Plus, we want to help the industry tap into the huge markets for freshcut apples that remain underserved, offering value to producers and consumers alike.
Even outside of OSF, working to improve the future of our industry has always been the inspiration behind what we do. We’re always proud to help others get to know the treefruit business, especially other aspiring growers. Many of the individuals we hire to help us with our orchard are chosen specifically because they have interest in learning about the industry and hope to manage orchards of their own one day. With the farming community rapidly aging across North America, it’s very rewarding to help mentor young, aspiring growers in any way we can.
Not only is the average farmer much older than they used to be, each one also has to feed far more people than ever before. With less farmers and more mouths to feed, not only is it the responsibility of current orchardists like us to help mentor and excite the next generation, it’s also our job to give them the tools they need to be successful.
By adding beneficial traits to the fruits we know and love, we can make it easier for growers to produce more high-quality fruit for hungry consumers – a goal we can all get behind!