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non_omnis_moriar's avatar

Are "Honeycrisp" apples a fairly new variety? Organic Honeycrisps are normal sized but why are regular (non-organic) Honeycrisps literally the size of grapefruits?

Asked by non_omnis_moriar (1132points) February 23rd, 2014

Non-organic grown “Honeycrisp” apples do not turn brown (oxidize) after the apple has been cut and exposed to the air. I have a sliced apple in my refrigerator that is over a month old and it is still white.

My old favorite pie apples, Northern Spies, are not available in my area so I am in search of a really solid baking apple. Grannies make a good applesauce but not a great pie.

Honeycrisp apples make for an excellent baking apple. It holds its shape and crispness in an apple pie.

But where did these suddenly come from? I’ve been around quite a while, lived for many years in apple country and never saw these before in my life.

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7 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would say I’ve been seeing them in the last five years or so. It is so odd how the old types are disappearing and new ones appear. I’m sure it does have something to do with shelf life, travel-ability, etc. but a lot gets lost.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

They don’t grow from seed apparently and can’t be pollinated from another Honeycrisp apple tree so they have to be planted with other varieties to be pollinate.

I just wonder how they get some abnormally large. When I said grapefruit I wasn’t kidding; and it would be a large grapefruit; yet the organic ones are normal sized apples.

JLeslie's avatar

They were created at the University of Minnesota. I think they entered the market in the early 90’s.

The size has nothing to do with organic or not. It’s just a matter of what size your grocer is buying.

They are the best apple ever in my opinion. They have been a fortune lately. I actually have passed up buying them, because they have been $3.49 to $3.99 per lb at my market. I think that is just crazy. I can’t imagine that is anything but wholesalers and grocers seeing how much the market will bear. Why would it cost much more to grow honeycrisps than other apples?

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

@JLeslie “Why would it cost much more to grow honeycrisps than other apples?”

They are $2.99/lb at Whole Foods but not for organic; they were $3.99.

Maybe the need to tend pollination is labor intensive. I don’t know. Prices for food vary so incredibly and often Whole Foods is less expensive than my neighborhood supermarket.

There is an American crop that is running out now and later, I don’t know exactly when, a New Zealand crop of Honeycrisps is imported as they enter their apple season.

They do make wonderful pies – slightly sweet so I can lower the sugar in my recipe. But I do miss my Northern Spies.

“Northern Spies make the best Apple Pies”

JLeslie's avatar

They were $2.49—$2.99 about 5 years ago.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

At Esquire, Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn looks at the story behind why the Honeycrisp apple is so expensive:

With Galas and Romes and Granny Smiths and Red Deliciouses still going for a dollar and change per pound, the price of Honeycrisps — presently hovering around $4.50 a pound here in New York — is something previously unheard of in the scheme of apple pricing. In almost 400 years of cultivating apples on these shores, Honeycrisp may be the first true name-brand variety to hit the shelves — a designer apple, the first malus domestica to price out of a segment of the market.

Even David Bedford, the man responsible for creating the Honeycrisp 20 years ago (via good old-fashioned cross breeding, not nefarious genetic splicing and dicing), is astonished by the apple’s success. “I have absolutely never seen this price phenomenon with another apple,” says Bedford, a scientist at the University of Minnesota. “There are varieties that have garnered a 10 percent premium to standard pricing, and usually they have a promotional campaign behind them. They eventually fade out. Honeycrisp has never had a national marketing campaign — it’s truly a grassroots phenomenon. I’ve had to ask myself, ‘Is this real?’”

Right now, it’s simply supply and demand: We love them, we want them, and there’s not a lot of them because they are currently only grown in certain regions like: Minnesota, Michigan, and Upstate New York. Dunn says farmers will probably attempt to start growing the popular apple in imperfect locations, which may affect the apple’s quality. Luckily for us, the University of Minnesota holds the patent (!) for the Honeycrisp, and they’re only licensing trees to growers in ideal climates.

JLeslie's avatar

@non_omnis_moriar Thanks! You must be a new jelly. Welcome.

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