MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota has spent the past several years releasing new apple varieties, including Honeycrisp, SweeTango, and 2018’s newest apple, the First Kiss.

Each of these apples usually costs more than $3 per pound.

When it comes to price, John Jacobson from Pine Tree Apple Orchard says three main factors come into play: demand, resources, and royalties.

Demand for the newer varieties is high in part, he says, because researchers at the University of Minnesota found what consumers wanted most.

“It’s texture that people like,” said Jacobson, who partners with the university and its apple research. “Texture, juiciness, crunch, if you will. So they’ve done a very good job of breeding for those characteristics.”

That research phase can last years.

For the SweeTango, Jacobson says it started in the 1990s and farmers planted the first seeds around 2010. Then the manual labor started, which also drives prices up. Jacobson says his team trims buds by hand every spring to get a more consistent crop.

The third factor is royalties, and those pertain to the university itself.

“We have to make sure the developer, the University of Minnesota, gets a chunk,” Jacobson said. “Whether it be in root stock or a percentage of the price we sell it for.”

The newest University of Minnesota apple, First Kiss, sold out by early September.
Jacobson expects both SweeTango and Honeycrisp to be available through late October or early November.

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