Why the next big apple variety from the U of M is kind of a big deal

"99.5 percent of the time, we throw them away"

Laura Oakes
August 09, 2018 - 6:00 pm
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The latest apple sensation out of the University of Minnesota is about to hit store shelves.

"First Kiss"--the child of the beloved Honeycrisp-- was 21 years in the making, and was cultivated all that time by research scientist and apple breeder David Bedford, who routinely tastes up to 500 apples a day, looking for that next winner.

"99.5 percent of the time, we throw them away. They're not good enough. Only one-half of one percent are good enough to get selected for the next round of testing," says Bedford.

Bedford says the two most important components to making the cut are texture and flavor.

"It doesn't matter how beautiful they are or how many fruit they produce. If they don't have texture and flavor, who's gonna buy them?"

First Kiss' parents are the U of M-bred and now world-famous Honeycrisp, and what Bedford calls an obscure variety from Arkansas that can withstand hot summers.  Bedford says they're already working on what they hope will be the next big thing, even if it's another 10 to 15 years away.