Oct 27, 2021Okanagan Specialty Fruits marks 25th anniversary
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the developer and grower behind the Arctic apple varieties, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. Apple and cherry growers Neal and Louisa Carter founded the company back in 1996 with a passion for reducing unnecessary food waste and to address declining apple consumption.
Okanagan (OSF) was purchased by Third Security LLC in 2020, but its vision remains the same and Neal Carter has continued his mission, staying on as President of the company.
“To say it’s been quite the journey would be an understatement. The past few years have been extremely rewarding as we’re finally seeing our dream become a reality with the commercialization of Arctic apples,” Carter said. “We currently have over 1,300 acres of Arctic apple trees planted in our orchards in Washington State. It’s definitely been humbling to watch one idea turn into approximately 2.6 million trees in the ground.”
A vertically integrated company, OSF specializes in the development, growing, processing, and marketing of novel tree fruit varieties. OSF’s flagship product is its Arctic apple varieties, which maintain their just-picked freshness, flavor, and color after slicing. This offers valuable benefits for all members of the apple supply chain, from grower to consumer.
The company is currently growing Arctic Golden, Arctic Granny, and Arctic Fuji varieties in its orchards. OSF’s future plans also include adding more apple varieties to their product line up, along with the development of Arctic cherry varieties.
“What really sets our products apart is our quality, as we specifically grow our apples with the intention to create fresher, tastier slices,” states Carter. “My vision for the next 25 years is to see Arctic apples set a new standard for sliced apples and help grow apple consumption worldwide, targeting food service, retail, and the ingredient business.”
Neal Carter. Photo: Okanagan Specialty Fruits