MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new apple from the University of Minnesota could extend the fall apple picking season.

University of Minnesota researchers developed a new type of apple that would ripen in August, one month ahead of most apple varieties.

The MN55 is a hybrid of the popular Honeycrisp apple, also developed at the U of M, and a little known variety out of Arkansas called the MonArk.

“The reason we chose that one is we were looking for something that would give us a little more heat tolerance,” David Bedford, an apple breeder for the University of Minnesota, said.

Development began nearly 20 years ago at the U of M research land near the Arboretum.

The apple has a similar texture and flavor of a Honeycrisp but would ripen a month earlier.

“If we can start the season in August, with a good apple, that’s just a win-win for everyone,” Bedford said.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake has planted several MN55 trees as part of the testing phase for the university.

The apple is still in development.

More orchards need to plant the trees and researchers still need to pick a name.

“That’s always a tricky bit for us is getting that naming just right,” Bedford said.

While this apple won’t be on the market for a few more years, Bedford believes at its core, this fall fruit has the seeds of success.

“We really got what we were hoping for and then some,” Bedford said.