Sep 10, 2014
Stemilt given license to latest Minnesota apple

The University of Minnesota has given Stemilt Growers the license to grow, pack and market a new, early-to-ripen apple cultivar. The patent name for the cultivar is MN55, and the University of Minnesota plans to trademark a name for the fruit in conjunction with the grower in the near future, according to a Stemilt press release.

MN55 was born 17 years ago at the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program, the same program that produced Honeycrisp. The new cultivar has exceptional flavors, color and fracture, and will go to market in 2017. MN55 is a cross between Honeycrisp and an unreleased variety labeled AA44 that is sometimes known as MonArk, according to Stemilt.

“We have a small block of trees that will produce small volumes of fruit come 2017, and a larger planting that will increase volumes for 2018 and beyond,” said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director. “We are thrilled at the prospect of having a high dessert-quality apple that will reinvent the month of August for the apple category.

“MN55 is very juicy and sweet and holds excellent pressures,” Pepperl said. “These are unusual qualities for such an early apple to possess, and the exact qualities that consumers have come to love in an apple.”

During the 17 years from original breeding to the final release and licensing of MN55, the University of Minnesota conducted rigorous testing to ensure the variety was of high enough quality to be commercially released. The process included five to six years of testing at multiple locations across the United States, according to Stemilt.

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