SnapDragon and RubyFrost, two new apple varieties
December 19, 2013
GENEVA, N.Y.—Cornell University and the New York Apple Growers have developed two new apple varieties, SnapDragon and RubyFrost, that have undergone a year of rigorous consumer testing as NY1 and NY2.
SnapDragon has a crispy texture and a spicy-sweet flavor that was a big hit with taste testers. SnapDragon’s harvest window starts relatively early—in late September—and its long storage and shelf life means retailers may be able to offer it with consistent quality longer than the Honeycrisp variety, to which it is related.
RubyFrost, which ripens later in the fall and stores well, will provide a boost of vitamin C well into winter. NYAG are hoping consumers who enjoy Empire and Granny Smith apples will like RubyFrost.
“Several new apple varieties are being released nationwide on a limited basis. It’s not a new trend, but it’s one that’s gaining momentum,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Many consumers enjoy the newer varieties, with demand sometimes exceeding supply. Consumers are often willing to pay higher retail prices for the new varieties. “
SnapDragon and RubyFrost have been a decade in the making. Getting them to market was a first for the Cornell apple-breeding program and the New York apple industry.
Historically, public universities developed new apple varieties and released them to the industry freely. In 1980 the Bayh-Dole Act gave universities the right to retain intellectual property rights for their research, with limited plant-based royalties.
Cornell forged a partnership with NYAG for a “managed release” in May 2010 to establish an exclusive licensing agreement in North America for SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples. The first trees were planted in farmers’ orchards in 2011, and now 400 acres are growing across the state. Consumers can search out the two apple varieties at select NYAG farm stands across the state now, but by 2015 the varieties will be vying for space in grocery stores.
Cornell has released 66 apple varieties since the late 1890s, including the popular Cortland, Macoun, Empire and Jonagold.
Apples were ranked 15th among Virginia’s top farm commodities in 2012, with $54 million in cash receipts, an increase from $37 million and a No. 16 ranking in 2011.
Media: Contact Banks at 804-290-1114 or Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.