The New York Times decided the other day to take a look at some of the best-tasting apple varieties in the country. And it decided that a new apple called Cosmic Crisp, which is being developed in Washington State, is about the best there is.
But in the process, the writer dissed one of Minnesota's favorite apples – the Honeycrisp, which was developed right here at the University of Minnesota.
The headline on the story even made a dig: Beyond the Honeycrisp Apple.
Here's what the Times had to say about the Honeycrisp:
Honeycrisp, introduced in 1991 by the University of Minnesota, set the standard for crispness, juiciness and upscale pricing. But for all its popularity, the apple is soft, quickly dissolving in the mouth. Its flavor is inconsistent and fades in long storage, and it is maddeningly difficult to grow.
As you might expect, some folks in Minnesota are none too pleased with the Times, especially since the great Grape Salad debacle of last year – when the newspaper declared Grape Salad the most quintessential Thanksgiving dish in Minnesota – is still fresh in our minds.
The Star Tribune talked with David Belford, one of the U's longtime apple breeders, who said there's no way the Honeycrisp can be described as "soft."
He said anyone who tastes a soft Honeycrisp probably ate one that wasn't grown in Minnesota. If they're grown in a place that's warmer than Minnesota, or picked at the wrong time, they won't taste as good as the ones grown here.
Local Honeycrisp fans can attest to that.
The Times article noted the constant activity among apple breeders to come up with the next big hit. It went so far as to call the Cosmic Crisp – a cross between the Honeycrisp and Enterprise – "the most promising and important apple of the future." It won't be on the market for another four years.
The U of M's Bedford isn't quite so impressed. He told the Star Tribune he's tasted the Cosmic Crisp, and while he said it's a good apple, he's not sure it's going to be a "rock star."
Meantime, the University of Minnesota has introduced two apple varieties that ripen earlier than Honeycrisp: the SweeTango, which has been available since 2008, and another as-yet-unnamed variety that will be on the market in 2017.
You can find out more here about the Honeycrisp and other apple varieties developed at the University of Minnesota.