Have you ever purchased fresh, sweet cherries only to think of how much more you would enjoy them without that pit? They would be more portable, making them easier to eat on the go or with small children.
Good news, one North Carolina company is working on exactly that. Pairwise, headquartered in Durham, N.C., is using its license to CRISPR technology to make better produce, faster.
What exactly is CRISPR?
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, commonly known as CRISPR, is a gene editing technique that takes a sequence of DNA and its associated protein to edit the base pairs of a gene, changing certain characteristics of a plant or animal. The DNA is what gives a plant its instructions on how to grow so editing that DNA can create a plant with different characteristics – our cherries without pits for example.
This process helps achieve desirable traits in the plants more quickly than a traditional process which could take as long as 50 to 100 years. It is different than GMO because the process does not introduce any foreign DNA. It is simply a breeding tool.
Seeing it in Action
Last week, members of the NC Chamber team joined agriculture thought leaders from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Cornerstone members N.C. Farm Bureau, SAS, and First Bank and Trust of Virginia, to tour the Pairwise facility in RTP.
We were presented with the opportunity to try the leafy greens that will be the first product launched under the Conscious Foods brand. A mustard green typically has a strong, bitter taste. It is for that reason that we typically cook mustard greens, it neutralizes the reaction between the enzyme and substrate. Unfortunately, the cooking process also loses some of the nutritional value of the green.
Pairwise has managed to remove the bitter taste to create a leafy green that tastes good and keeps its high nutritional value, making it desirable for a salad. The crackers and water in the picture were absolutely needed after tasting the original, bitter version!
Focused on flavor, eating experience, and nutrition, Pairwise and its Conscious Foods brand plan to roll out their first product, the leafy greens, in grocery stores next year. Next up, you can expect to see seedless berries and pitless cherries.
We asked the Pairwise team why they chose North Carolina and it essentially boiled down to how quickly they could get started. As we like to say, what’s made in North Carolina makes North Carolina! We are proud to be open for business.