NY State apple growers ramp up production of two new varieties - FreshFruitPortal.com

NY State apple growers ramp up production of two new varieties

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NY State apple growers ramp up production of two new varieties

An organization that comprises about 60% of New York State's apple growers has been rolling out two new varieties developed by Cornell University and expects volumes to ramp up over the coming years. kast20130810_030

Crunch Time Apple Growers is a grower-owned company that has 145 members and released its first two apple varieties under the trademarked brand names RubyFrost and SnapDragon to the public in 2013, after the initial batch of trees was planted in 2011.

Speaking to www.freshfruitportal.com at the recent New York Produce Show and Conference, Crunch Time Apple Growers representative Robin Leous said the group had the varieties' exclusive marketing rights in North America.

"Every year we expect to have more of these varieties available. Volumes are ramping up and we should be in full production by about the year 2020," she said.

"Currently we have hundreds of acres planted between the two varieties, with more plantings scheduled.  Last year our members agreed to increase their acreage due to the high consumer demand so additional plantings will continue for the next several years. 

There is potential to expand production of the two varieties outside of the organization in the future to partner growers in other states if necessary, but Leous said there were no concrete plans for that just yet.

The SnapDragon brand name was created by the grower group for the variety originally identified  as 'NY1', and the apple was bred using genetics from the popular Honeycrisp variety.

"Honeycrisp is one of its parents, along with another variety that had good breeding traits - the Cornell team felt they would have a good mix," she said. 

Leous believed the SnapDragon, described as having a 'monster crunch', was easier to grow that its well-known parent and that it had a unique taste that made it stand apart.

RubyFrost - originally NY2 - is a cross between Braeburn and Autumn Crisp and is notable for its deep red color and late harvest period.

"RubyFrost isn't taken to the market until January. It tastes fine straight off the tree, but its delicate balance of sweet and tart flavors really come out after it's been in storage" she said.

The two varieties are now being sold at various retailers across the country, and Leous said she hoped to have a lot more coverage over the coming years.

She said there are a lot of new varieties in the marketplace and they’re all vying for the same store shelf space, adding the trend seems to be more in and out programs with retail partners where they bring varieties in for a short period. 

"Often what they do is bring new ones in for just a month or two. I have consumers contacting me regularly saying that a retailer had the variety they love but they don't have it anymore," she said.

"We're trying to build brand recognition and awareness, and it's difficult to do this with retailers in and out programs. 

"There are a lot of new varieties out there, but we know SnapDragon and RubyFrost are winners.  We’ve seen that once consumers try them, they realize how great they are.  We think they have the potential to be as popular if not more popular as the Honeycrisp variety."




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