Sansa is a delightfully fruity and sweet early apple. Not commercially ‘pretty’, perhaps, with its non-solid pinkishyellowish/lightly russet-y color scheme, but it certainly looks beautiful to us! And you know we at North Star do not care much about looks anyway – it’s flavor that counts! Every year when the Sansa start coming in, I am reminded of how lovely they are. And then, as I cut them up for eating, I remember that they also don’t turn brown. Sensational!
Early last year the FDA approved genetically modified (GMO) apples, and we may see them hitting the grocery store shelves by 2017. Dubbed ‘botox apples’ by some, these altered Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples are designed (ie. genetically modified in a lab) to prevent bruising and browning. (Read more about it in this NPR article)
We at the farm believe that the development of GMO crops is like opening a Pandora’s Box (or can of worms, if you prefer). Things could take off and become big problems in no time. We’ve already seen that in pesticide-resistant monster weeds which have developed in response to GMO corn, soy, and other field crops.
And honestly, in the case of the GMO apples – what IS the point? Sure, some apples start to brown nearly immediately upon cutting them, but others do not. The non-browning characteristic already exists in some varieties, like these awesome Sansa.
Some varieties, like Royalty or Summer Blaze, will start browning within seconds of being cut, but others like Sansa and Gold Rush do not. When there are already naturally-occurring non-browning gems like those around, why on Earth are food and Ag scientists fooling around with genes in a lab? So they can have nationally-recognized varieties like Granny Smith and Golden Delicious with that characteristic?
Personally, I think it would be so much better if the apple industry would stop fooling around with well-known varieties which “look good”, but aren't that exciting in the flavor department. Why not start growing some YUMMY varieties and NOT fool around artificially with the genetics? Consumers can be taught that delicious apples can come in “ugly” packages…we’ve seen that happen with our own farm. We routinely have customers pick out the “ugliest” varieties for sale at our market stand, as they know those apples will taste just awesome!
And so it is with Sansa: a very unassuming-looking apple with great flavor AND a nifty non-browning characteristic….and no GMOs are involved!