«Previous    Next»
New Apple May Challenge Honeycrisp
Kudos is a new apple variety that has attributes likely to make it a winner. The new apple is the result of crossing Honeycrisp and Zestar varieties, according to David Bedford, University of Minnesota apple breeder.
“Kudos has the crisp, juicy flavor of a Honeycrisp and the rich flavor of a Zestar, but with a slight tropical twist,” he says.
Bedford further describes it as a beautiful red apple, a trait that’s almost as important to American consumers as taste and texture. He has reason to admire the apple. He’s been working with it for half of his 44-year career in the University’s apple development program. It’s the latest in a program that has produced 29 new varieties over the past 103 years.
Bedford helped develop and introduce several very successful new apples, among them Honeycrisp and Zestar. Others include SweeTango and First Kiss/Rave. In every case, there’s a long time between the hand pollination of apple blossoms and the commercialization of a new variety.
“Hand pollinating an apple blossom increases the odds of getting a seed with the desired characteristics, but you can’t control which genes are passed on,” says Bedford. “Only 1 out of every 10,000 seeds from the same cross will be good enough to be released as a new variety someday.”
Apples are heterozygous. Unlike vegetable seeds, which will reproduce uniformly, apple seeds are all different. Even full sisters like SweeTango and Kudos are completely different apples.
“You could plant a million seeds from Honeycrisp apples and never get a Honeycrisp,” says Bedford.
Like its parents and full and half-siblings, Kudos survived 20+ years of review. That’s just the halfway point. It’s now in the hands of licensing nurseries, who’ll produce trees over the next couple of years to sell to orchards.
“Once they’ve been planted, it’ll be 2 to 4 years before apples are available for sale to the public,” says Bedford.
That begins the real test for a new variety. Bedford recalls tasting Honeycrisp when it was still being evaluated, and he was fresh out of graduate school.
“It was so far out of the norm that I couldn’t compare it to other apples,” he says. “It didn’t take me long to figure out that it must be good. However, even after it was introduced, it took another 8 to 10 years to see if the public agreed. Honeycrisp is now the benchmark for texture.”
Today, Honeycrisp is considered the most popular apple in the U.S. Bedford notes that it’s still considered a relatively new variety even though it’s more than 60 years old. It’s been available to the public for 30 years.
Time will tell if Kudos will prove as popular.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Bedford, University of Minnesota, Dept. of Horticultural Science, 305 Alderman Hall, 1970 Folwell Ave.,
St. Paul, Minn. 55108 (ph 612-301-1823; bedfo001@umn.edu; www.mnhardy.umn.edu/apples).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6