Apple growers to release successor to...

Apple growers to release successor to Honeycrisp

There are 40 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Sep 3, 2009, titled Apple growers to release successor to Honeycrisp. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

Tim Byrne picked an apple from the spindly tree, sliced it and popped a chunk into his mouth.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at TwinCities.com.

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ExcelsiorFarms

Pittsford, NY

#21 Sep 12, 2009
Phid wrote:
This is interesting news, but....
[quote]Growers outside Minnesota must join the co-op to get SweeTango. The trees likely won't be available to the general public until the patent expires in 2028, Byrne said.[/quote]
What's the deal with this? Yes, I realize that "quality can suffer" if anyone can grow it, but it also brings costs down by increasing supply and competition. Merchants can choose to buy from growers that are located in colder climates that have proven to provide a superior product.
So what would happen if I plant SweeTango seeds in my backyard and grow my own tree?
I'm assuming this is all tongue-in-cheek. The apple you plant from the seeds inside the Sweet Tango will NOT be a Sweet Tango. It will be a cross between a sweet Tango and another variety of apple that pollinated the Sweet Tango. The only way to get a Sweet Tango is to graft (or bud) the Sweet Tango from an existing tree on to an apple rootstock.
MnNative

Saint Paul, MN

#22 Sep 12, 2009
I went to the St Paul farmers market last weekend (Labor day weekend) go there about 7:45, they were sold out. Only 2 growers actually had them. The one guy said he brought all that his trees had and will not have anymore. A few other apple sellers said the trees they had did not produce enouph this year. rainbow comercial says they have Honeycrisps in the stores not

Since: Sep 08

Saint Paul, MN

#23 Sep 12, 2009
I bought some Sweet Tango apples on Hwy 61 south of Red Wing. They are really good (and expensive). I still have one in the refrigerator. Until they become more plentiful, I'll stick with Honeycrisp.

If you're a real apple aficionado, head for La Crescent for Applefest09 on September 17 to 20. There are lots of orchards in that area.
MnNative

Saint Paul, MN

#24 Sep 12, 2009
MnNative wrote:
I went to the St Paul farmers market last weekend (Labor day weekend) go there about 7:45, they were sold out. Only 2 growers actually had them. The one guy said he brought all that his trees had and will not have anymore. A few other apple sellers said the trees they had did not produce enouph this year. rainbow comercial says they have Honeycrisps in the stores not
oopsit was aCUB comercial
Monkeybot

Laurel, MD

#25 Sep 14, 2009
Byerly's in Roseville had tons of them on Sunday. They are a dollar per pound cheaper than the honeycrisp.

In my opinion the honeycrisp is better.
MN Dad

Maple Grove, MN

#26 Sep 14, 2009

Just had our first Swee Tango! While the flavor was great, and it was just as crisp as a good honeycrip, your not missing out on that much in CA. as long as you can get Honeycrips.
JCR

Wautoma, WI

#27 Sep 15, 2009
Tasted the sweetango September 12th from an orchard in LaCrescent, MN......outstanding apple!! Has a great sweet-tart flavor and contains an incredible amount of juice which runs down your face as you eat it. Does have similarities of honeycrisp to me. It's as good as the honeycrisp also. It tastes best refrigerated and lasts longer when cold. I'd give it a 10 as I did the honeycrisp.
Terri

Rochester, MN

#28 Sep 24, 2009
sweet tango's are available at hy-vee south in rochester --- they are $3.99/lb and worth every penny --- they were grown at the pepin heights orchard in lake city, mn ---- the orchard has them also, for $2.99/lb ---- similar to a honeycrisp, but the tangy bite on the tailend of the taste is the keeper!
MI Grower

Central Lake, MI

#29 Sep 24, 2009
How does this help independent, family apple growers in say, NY or MI? If they are successful in their marketing blitz, they will only serve to create demand that most of your local growers can't fill.
Unless you're from MN, you can't even grow the Sweetango without paying to join the co-op, who then controls all the pricing, marketing and distribution. If you are from MN, you can grow up to 1000 Sweetango trees, but only to sell in your market or road-side stand, and you can't join ranks with other small growers to sell your crop commercially.
Further, it is not like the recording industry, in that the variety was developed in a public university, using at least some portion of public funds.
Stanley Yelnats

Saint Paul, MN

#30 Sep 24, 2009
MI Grower wrote:
How does this help independent, family apple growers in say, NY or MI? If they are successful in their marketing blitz, they will only serve to create demand that most of your local growers can't fill.
Unless you're from MN, you can't even grow the Sweetango without paying to join the co-op, who then controls all the pricing, marketing and distribution. If you are from MN, you can grow up to 1000 Sweetango trees, but only to sell in your market or road-side stand, and you can't join ranks with other small growers to sell your crop commercially.
Further, it is not like the recording industry, in that the variety was developed in a public university, using at least some portion of public funds.
They own it, they can control it. Public funds were not exactly used, as in taxpayer funds. The apple genetics part of the U of Minnesota pretty much pays their own way with their earnings on their other apple varieties. I don't know the rules set up to control the SweeTango, but I assume they are similar to other recent variets such as Pink Lady and others.

By the way, I bought three of the SweeTango apples at $2.99/pound. They have similar qualities to Honeycrisp, sweetness, crispness, but have an interesting flavor that is different from other apples. You can get the different taste sensation best when you take a bite without the peel. While I like the Honeycrisps, I prefer the ones that aren't a pound apiece. I'm sure the growers love the huge apples however (until they get too big for the processing equipment).
MI Grower

Central Lake, MI

#31 Sep 25, 2009
Stanley Yelnats wrote:
<quoted text>
They own it, they can control it. Public funds were not exactly used, as in taxpayer funds. The apple genetics part of the U of Minnesota pretty much pays their own way with their earnings on their other apple varieties. I don't know the rules set up to control the SweeTango, but I assume they are similar to other recent variets such as Pink Lady and others.
By the way, I bought three of the SweeTango apples at $2.99/pound. They have similar qualities to Honeycrisp, sweetness, crispness, but have an interesting flavor that is different from other apples. You can get the different taste sensation best when you take a bite without the peel. While I like the Honeycrisps, I prefer the ones that aren't a pound apiece. I'm sure the growers love the huge apples however (until they get too big for the processing equipment).
Public funds are exactly used, and have been being used in public, land grant universities for over 100 years.( http://www.maes.umn.edu/news/2009/NIFA-approp... )
The Honeycrisp apple made the U of Minn over 8 million dollars (I would be curious to know how much of the 8 mil was generated by the "about 72" members of the Next Big Thing co-op), and was a boon to small as well as large apple growers. Many small family growers in Michigan and elsewhere grow fantastic quality Honeycrisp, but won't be growing Sweetango due to this exclusive arrangement. It remains to be seen whether this new variety will have the same success without them.
Stanley Yelnats

Saint Paul, MN

#32 Sep 25, 2009
MI Grower wrote:
<quoted text>
Public funds are exactly used, and have been being used in public, land grant universities for over 100 years.( http://www.maes.umn.edu/news/2009/NIFA-approp... )
The Honeycrisp apple made the U of Minn over 8 million dollars (I would be curious to know how much of the 8 mil was generated by the "about 72" members of the Next Big Thing co-op), and was a boon to small as well as large apple growers. Many small family growers in Michigan and elsewhere grow fantastic quality Honeycrisp, but won't be growing Sweetango due to this exclusive arrangement. It remains to be seen whether this new variety will have the same success without them.
I said taxpayer funds were not used. They develop these new apple varieties and actually make money for the university. Even if public funds were used, they're Minnesota public funds, not Michigan public funds. You're right, we don't know if the exclusive arrangement will allow for the same success as previous apple varieties. I suppose that if they don't get enough growers under the current arrangement, changes to that arrangement will be made in order to ensure the success of the enterprise.
MI Grower

Central Lake, MI

#33 Sep 25, 2009
Are you saying the fruit breeding program at U of Minn doesn't receive federal funds? I've been trying to research that information, so would appreciate your pointing me to it. All I found was the 2009 request from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities to the United States Department of Agriculture for 300 million dollars.
Stanley Yelnats

Saint Paul, MN

#35 Sep 25, 2009
MI Grower wrote:
Are you saying the fruit breeding program at U of Minn doesn't receive federal funds? I've been trying to research that information, so would appreciate your pointing me to it. All I found was the 2009 request from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities to the United States Department of Agriculture for 300 million dollars.
No, I guess I'm not saying that. I don't have a dog in this fight and I probably should have just given my opinion that I think it's ok for the University of Minnesota to market their new apple variety in the manner in which they see fit. Are you telling me that small growers don't have the opportunity to buy into the SweeTango managed variety program?
Kyle Willkomm

Minneapolis, MN

#36 Oct 2, 2009
They invented this type of apple. Why in the world shouldn't they get the patent rights to its profits for a while? The University chooses to release it to the public via the MN apple co-op. Since they own the apple until the patent expires, that is their right to do.
MI Grower

Rapid City, MI

#37 Oct 2, 2009
Kyle Willkomm wrote:
They invented this type of apple. Why in the world shouldn't they get the patent rights to its profits for a while? The University chooses to release it to the public via the MN apple co-op. Since they own the apple until the patent expires, that is their right to do.
That's only partially true. The University chose to license the Sweetango exclusively to Pepin Heights. Pepin Heights formed the Next Big Thing co-op, and is managing the apple's release. All aspects of it are tightly controlled, including the growing, availability, pricing, marketing, packing and distribution of the apple.

U of M owned the patent to the Honeycrisp as well (which coincidentally ran out in 2008), and made a great deal of money from it by allowing all growers willing to pay a royalty (between 50 cents and a dollar per tree) to plant them.

They are now biting the very hands that fed them, those of the growers across the country who paid U of M millions in royalties on the Honeycrisp, and who are largely responsible for its unprecedented success. They are claiming now that many of those apples and their growers are inferior (didn't seem to be a concern when the royalty checks were rolling in). That's a lousy thing to do at the start of apple season, especially when the self-proclaimed "successor to Honeycrisp" is not producing on a large scale at this time, and when many of the HC trees for which those growers paid royalties are not even producing apples yet. Perhaps they should offer refunds?

Further, this apple is not exactly an invention. The Sweetango is a cross between the Honeycrisp and Zestar!, themselves cross-bred from other varieties, building on decades of research at a land grant university. U of M's University fruit-breeding program is at least partially taxpayer funded. The result of 100+ years of public research, in my opinion, should not be used to the benefit of just one or a handful of companies, and definitely should not work to the detriment of the thousands of independent growers whose royalties helped fund it.

http://www.mndaily.com/2009/09/27/sweetango-n...
Michele in SC

Columbia, SC

#38 Oct 5, 2009
I just had my first Honeycrisp, and it was so good!!! I am wondering how long it will take for the Sweet Tango to make it to South Carolina?
Sugar Bear

Rochester, NY

#39 Oct 5, 2009
SuperSugarCrisp is way better.
Mat

Leakesville, MS

#40 Jan 9, 2011
Phid wrote:
This is interesting news, but....
[quote]Growers outside Minnesota must join the co-op to get SweeTango. The trees likely won't be available to the general public until the patent expires in 2028, Byrne said.[/quote]
What's the deal with this? Yes, I realize that "quality can suffer" if anyone can grow it, but it also brings costs down by increasing supply and competition. Merchants can choose to buy from growers that are located in colder climates that have proven to provide a superior product.
So what would happen if I plant SweeTango seeds in my backyard and grow my own tree?
A SweeTango apple seed can grow into an apple tree, but it will not produce SweeTango apples. Fruit trees cannot reproduce in "true" form from seeds. They can be reproduced only by grafting. A graft is a technique in which a part of a stem that includes leaf buds of the desired tree is inserted into another tree. The other tree acts as the host and provides nutrients to the stem section of the desired tree. Only the grafted stem will produce the desired apples. Several grafts can be made to one "understock" or host tree, so that in time, one branch may produce SweeTango apples, another branch may grow Jonathans, and another may produce Granny Smiths. To graft one type of apple tree onto another is not rocket science, but can be a little tricky.

Read more: How to Graft Apple Trees | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4506703_graft-apple-t...
b-kunz

Louisville, OH

#41 Sep 21, 2013
So if you planted the seed from swwtango would you get honeycrisp and zestar trees since that is ehat is crossed to get sweetango?

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