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Growers compare apples (of the present) to apples (of the future)

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Get ready, apple lovers. A tasty new variety -- currently identified simply as MN1955 -- is coming.

The Winona Daily News reported that the newest variety created at the University of Minnesota was the buzz this week at the 81st annual Minnesota Apple Growers Association education and trade show, held over the border at the La Crosse Center in Wisconsin.

David Bedford, a scientist with the university’s apple breeding program, gave growers something to chew on in his annual update of the latest variety that's still in the works. This year, it is so new that it hasn’t been christened. He said the newbie is a cross between the Honeycrisp and a variety from Arkansas. Because part of the fruit's origination comes from the south, the variety will have a higher tolerance of heat and will mature earlier.

Last August, MPR News reported that the University of Minnesota's world-renowned breeding program is responsible for creating classic apples like Haralsons and Beacons as well as modern varieties like Honeycrisp, Zestar and SweeTango. There's gold in them thar apples. The story noted that while the Honeycrisp is no longer under plant patent, but during the 17 years that it was, it brought about $8 million to the university and growers that are licensed around the world pay royalties to the university.

The new variety could be available for testing by orchards as early as this coming spring or summer

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