POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Summerland, British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. BB #:337660 celebrated this year’s harvest with a culinary event on the other side of the country.
About a dozen media, foodservice professionals and bloggers participated at an event at the Culinary Institute of America to test their mettle in a live kitchen environment using non-browning Arctic apples.
Working with faculty at the CIA, groups produced recipes using fresh Arctic Granny, Arctic Golden, fresh juice and ApBitz dried apples to get a look at how they perform in a real kitchen environment.
The event is part of Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ push into foodservice this year. The company increased volumes from about 1.8 million pounds last season to about 5.5 million pounds.
“We’ve decided going after some very targeted efforts in foodservice is the way we want to go,” said Neil Carter, founder, via Skype with event participants.
Carter participated in a question and answer session with participants and gave a glimpse into the company’s future. First up is Arctic Fuji, which already is approved and in the ground. Next comes Arctic Gala and the company is even testing other varieties, like Honeycrisp, and other fruits like blush cherries.
Carter, who also grows cherries, says there’s tremendous potential with more delicate blush (like Rainier) cherry varieties, which have a lot of problems with bruising throughout harvest and transportation.
Juice also is a potential area for development. Arctic Apple juice has a more vibrant green color, instead of the traditional golden apple juice.
“Bandwidth is our biggest challenge,” Carter said. “Arctic juice is a very cool opportunity. It’s very distinctive in nature.”
The company is currently working on building its own processing facility, expected to open next year. That will open up a lot more opportunities, Carter said.
For now, take a look at some of the dishes created at the event.
*Note: Arctic Apples sponsored travel for event participants.