|SnapDragon apples. Photo from Cornell|
SnapDragon and RubyFrost are the names of the two new apples developed in New York state.
After years of development and consumer testing as “NY1” and “NY2” Cornell University and New York Apple Growers have given the hottest new apples in the Empire State names worthy of their unique assets: SnapDragon and RubyFrost.
The names were revealed Thursday afternoon by Jeff Crist, vice chairman of the New York Apple Growers board of directors, at the annual Fruit Field Days at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, where Cornell breeder and Horticulture Professor Susan Brown developed the varieties.
“SnapDragon is a great name for this apple because consumers found its crispy texture and sweet flavor so appealing,” said Mark Russell, an apple grower and New York Apple Growers member.
SnapDragon, formerly NY1, gets its juicy crispness from its Honeycrisp parent, and it has a spicy-sweet flavor that was a big hit with taste testers. Russell anticipates it will be a popular apple for snacking, especially for children.
Brown said she recognized its promise and fast-tracked it for commercialization.
“I remember my very first bite of SnapDragon. The taste, the crispness and the juiciness impressed us,” Brown said. “Retailers will appreciate its other qualities as well, because although SnapDragon’s harvest window starts relatively early – in late September – its long storage and shelf life means retailers may be able to offer it with consistent quality for a longer time than Honeycrisp.”
|RubyFrost apples. Photo from Cornell.|
“I think juicy and refreshing when I eat a RubyFrost,” Russell said. “It’s a fascinating apple, with a beautiful skin and a nice sugar-acid balance, but to me the crisp juiciness is rewarding every time.”
The two varieties have been a decade in the making, and how they’ve gone to market is a first for the Cornell apple-breeding program and the New York apple industry. Historically, public universities developed new apple breeds and released them to the industry freely.
But in 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act gave universities the ability to retain the intellectual property rights for their research, with limited plant-based royalties.
In addition to SnapDragon and RubyFrost, Cornell has released 66 apple varieties since the late 1890s, including the popular Cortland, Macoun, Empire and Jonagold. Brown herself has brought consumers the highly popular Fortune and Autumncrisp varieties, as well as 10 sweet and one tart cherry varieties.