A clean, white box arrived in the mail this week. We filed out of our bedrooms, noses running, eyes bleary, wondering what in the world was this.
"Who ordered something?" I asked.
Checking the label, I realized this was a gift from Heather Atherton, the FirstFruits rep who promised to send me a box of their new apple, the Opal®. FirstFruits Marketing is a collaborative apple marketing company owned by growers.
"My kids love this apple," Heather said. "It literally does not brown after you cut it! And, it's sweet and crisp, perfect for snacking."
I barely managed to snatch one apple out of the soft, gray, cushion holding each perfect, golden globe before my children, who moments before could hardly stand due to their poor health, nearly took my fingers off in their mad grasp for fresh fruit.
Delicious? Yes. Sweet, juicy, yet firm? Affirmative. But, doesn't brown after cutting? "We'll see," I thought.
I left some chunks of apple in a bowl and forgot about them until dinner that night. Go figure. Heather was right: the apple looked exactly the same: firm, white flesh that remained sweet and fresh even after sitting on the counter for hours.
Talking to Heather later, I asked her, "So, these aren't GMO (genetically modified organism,) right? How do you do that?"
She laughed and confirmed, "No, it's just breeding for a resistance to browning. And that's not the best thing about this apple. It's going to help people."
Every year, FirstFruits Marketing donates a percentage of sales of every case of apples to worthy organizations that address issues like hunger, food safety, sustainability and the environment. This year, the growers of the widely acclaimed Opal® apple, are seeking applications from nonprofit organizations to benefit from 2013 Opal sales as part of the “Youth Make a Difference” Initiative, a campaign designed to provide financial support to worthy charities led by youth ages 6 to 25.
This Washington-grown, Golden Delicious-Topaz cross apple funded the expansion of Katie’s Krops gardens across the country in 2012. "In 2008 Katie brought home a tiny cabbage seedling home from school as part of the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program. She tended to her cabbage and cared for it until it grew to an amazing 40 pounds. Knowing her cabbage was special she donated to a soup kitchen where it helped to feed over 275 people.
Moved by the experience of seeing how many people could benefit from the donation of fresh produce to soup kitchens, Katie decided to start vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. Katie now has numerous gardens and has donated thousands of pounds of fresh produce to organizations that help people in need."
Like last year, FirstFruits will harness consumer demand for Opal in 2013 to raise funds for not only Katie’s Krops, but also other youth-led initiatives that address issues in food security, nutrition, agriculture, food politics or food education. Non-profit organizations and school-based entities can apply for funding, totaling approximately $50,000, at opalapples.org from Feb. 1 until March 31.
FirstFruits will evaluate all 2013 Youth Make a Difference applicants against a stringent set of criteria before posting finalists at opalapples.org. Beginning April 29, the company will invite consumers to visit the website and vote for their favorite initiatives. In July, FirstFruits plans to award funding to a minimum of three youth-led charities based on consumer votes and consistency with criteria. Criteria, nomination guidelines and funding details are available online.
UEB 32642 variety apples are grown exclusively by Broetje Orchards and distributed under the OPAL® brand name by First Fruits Marketing in North America.