Good Fruit Grower

September 2013

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Photos courtesy of Cornell University New York APPLES NAMED Jeff Crist shows the new logo for SnapDragon (formerly New York 1), pictured right. T hose two new apple varieties formerly called New York 1 and New York 2 and now named SnapDragon and RubyFrost were named "the good fashioned way, with hard work." That's according to Jeff Crist, vice chair of the board of directors of NYAG (New York Apple Growers) and a fruit grower from Walden, New York, who disclosed the names on August 1, during the annual fruit field days at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. The new varieties were developed by Cornell University apple breeder Dr. Susan Brown, who announced their release in May 2010, at which time she also told how they would be commercialized. Only New York growers who are members of NYAG (some 143) can grow them. At the time of their by Richard Lehnert release, the apples were not named. Crist said the plan from the start was to involve a lot of people and get a lot of opinions about what the names should be. "We used Cornell University and all the resources there," he said. These included the faculty and students in the Charles H. Dyson School for Applied Economics and Management. About 80 students divided into 20 four-person teams to taste the apples and develop names and marketing schemes for the new varieties. When all was said and done, Crist said, the NYAG marketing committee still struggled with the name, especially for SnapDragon. "We worried that maybe the dragon image might be too scary for children, or that people would confuse the apple with the flower of the same name." Dr. Bradley Rickard, an assistant professor in the Dyson School and director of the Horticultural Business and Policy Program, conducted consumer surveys of the kind of names people respond to. "Sensory names"—like Honeycrisp or SweeTango—that describe taste or texture have greater appeal than "appearance names"—like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, or Red Rome, he said. And the poorest names are "namesake names," like Empire, Cortland, or McIntosh. In the end, the namers went with the more appealing sensory names. By 2015, SnapDragon and RubyFrost will be vying for space in grocery stores. 8 SEPTEMBER 2013 Good Fruit Grower photo courtesy of cornell university Susan Brown, Cornell University apple breeder Craveable The name announcement came replete with promotional materials—logos for both SnapDragon and RubyFrost. Snapdragon's logo is a stylized dragon curled into an S shape with its name and the words Monster Crunch below it. The name RubyFrost appears in red below a blue stylized snowflake and over the words Cool, Crisp, Craveable. "I remember my very first bite of SnapDragon. The taste, the crispness, and the juiciness impressed us," said Brown, who was quoted in a press release put out by Cornell University. "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." "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 NYAG member quoted in the Cornell University press release. RubyFrost, formerly New York 2, which ripens later in the fall and stores well, will provide a boost of vitamin C well into winter, Brown said. It was bred to have high Vitamin C, which gives the apples the acidy tang. Brown expects it will be popular with fans of Empire and Granny Smith. "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." In May 2010, Cornell forged a partnership for a managed release with NYAG, a newly formed industry group, to establish an exclusive licensing agreement in North America for the two apple varieties. Growers pay royalties on trees purchased, acreage planted, and fruit produced, and

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