October 19, 2010
Have you tasted a Honeycrisp? How about SweeTango, Piñata, or Jazz? If you’ve been to a farmers market or fruit stand recently, odds are you’ve noticed some of the new club varieties of apples vying for the attention of consumers and retailers. Growers are hoping these hot new apple varieties will bring a greater return than plain old red and golden delicious. They can bring big dollars, but club varieties can also be quite a gamble for the grower.
Britt Dudek is a grower in East Wenatchee who is moving into ever greater production of Honeycrisp apples, one of the hottest new club varieties. KOHO’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner talked with Dudek by phone to talk about the decision to plant club apples, and what that means in terms of risk and reward to a grower.
Dudek Orchards is located near Pangborn Airport in East Wenatchee and grows primarily apples, with limited cherry production as well.
The Honeycrisp apple was trademarked following its development by the University of Minnesota breeding program, shows what a new variety can mean. Since its patent expired two years ago, more acres of Honeycrisp have been planted and the variety’s popularity and return to growers are touted as a success story. But it remains to be seen how consistent those good returns to farmers will be year to year, and if the public sticks by Honeycrisp as a new favorite apple.