Inside the Box: Juici Apples
Every type of produce that finds its way into an Imperfect box has a story, and some are so cool that we just have to share. This week we’re excited to spotlight a very special apple from Washington that’s available in our Bay Area, Los Angeles, Pacific Northwest, and San Antonio boxes.
Juici is a brand new apple variety from our friends at Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, it’s a delicious cross between a Honeycrisp and Braeburn. With such famous parents, they should be an easy sell, but it turns out getting a new apple varietal off the ground is no easy task. In the process of bringing Juici apples into the Imperfect family, we learned there was a lot we didn’t know about what it takes to get an apple off the tree and into a store.
Apple growers spend years carefully cross-breeding apples in the search of the most delicious varieties. You’ve seen the successful ones like McIntosh or Granny Smith in the aisle of your local grocery store. Since it can take an apple tree years to really start producing fruit, creating a new variety is a huge investment of time, money, and patience. Unfortunately for the grower, growing an apple that tastes great is only part of the battle, to sell it to stores, they need it to look perfect too.
If you’ve ever gone to an orchard to pick your own apples, you know that even apples on the same tree branch can end up in different colors. While home cooks do not care about color uniformity, grocery stores do. To sell apples to a retail store, an orchard must ensure that as many as possible meet their strict coloration standards.
Not being able to sell apples just because of their color puts a big dent in farmer’s annual crop, so growers do all they can to get even coloration on their apples. Some put reflective material on the ground around the trees during the weeks preceding harvest so the apples on the interior of the tree get more light and fuller color. Even so, lots of apples still don’t quite make the cut. It’s especially difficult to get young orchards to produce enough apples that fit grocery store coloration standards which led our friends at Oneonta Starr Ranch to give us a call when one of their first crops of Juici apples had some colorful outcasts.
We’re proud to buy their apples that don’t quite fit the cosmetic standards of the grocery store. In doing so we’re helping to give this new apple a boost in its first years of life and support the farmers who’ve so painstakingly grown them, all while reducing food waste. This also means that our customers can be some of the first to get this all-star variety. If you live in SF, LA, Portland, Seattle, or San Antonio, keep your eyes peeled for Juici apples, and add them to your box the next time you customize!