It’s autumn in Japan, which means the apple crop is in! The large size of Japanese apples is famous among those who have lived here, but how many of you have seen a designer apple?
About four years ago, there was a flurry of articles about how some orchards in Japan add a design to their fruit by use of bags, stencils, and the sun. In 2008, photographer Prof. Jane Alden Stevens traveled to Aomori to document Tsugaru apple cultivation, which is detailed in “Photography professor researches Japanese method of raising apples” from UC [University of Cincinnati] Magazine.
Also of note is a recent Design Taxi article about apples branded with the Apple Brand logo with this technique, in which a sticker covers part of the skin, thus creating a “tantoo” since the covered skin will not mature or “tan” as much as the rest. You can read the original Japanese blog post that launched the frenzy for these unofficial Apple-apples on the Apple-enthusiast blog Nobon.
These apples, of course, would be sold as luxury gifts, not just as regular fruit. On a recent trip to Takayama, Gifu pref., I finally got to see stenciled apples, where they were sold as omiyage at the morning market and bore a stenciled 飛騨 (Hida) logo.