Mmmm, MN55: New U. apple will tempt crunch-seekers

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Apple researchers at the University of Minnesota are pumped about a new variety they've developed that that they think will be a hit with consumers.

The Associated Press reports the new variety brings the best of two popular varieties. It crosses the popular Honeycrisp, known for its texture and sweet-tart flavor, with the MonArk, distinguished by its early ripening date. Jim Luby, director of the university's fruit crops breeding project, tells the Minnesota Daily that the new apple will let crisper variety arrive at groceries earlier in the season.

FOX 9 explains the new high-quality variety is now known by the interim name MN55. Early marketing for the variety has begun. But before the apple hits the early-season market, it needs a snappier name.

"You want to have something emotional that's easy to spell and has a good ring to it," said Roger Pepperl, marketing director of Stemilt Growers, based in Washington. "That's really the key."

The development of MN55 began in the late 1990s. Apple orchards can already able to grow and sell MN55. The new variety could be available in grocery stores within the next few years. The university operates an apple website to inform growers, nurseries and orchards about the varieties that the university has developed and licensed.

Research scientists at the University of Minnesota have been engaged in ongoing research on new varieties of produce, seeking to improve taste, disease resistance or shelf life of various fruits and vegetables.

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