Good Fruit Grower

September 2013

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the income is used to market the new varieties and support Cornell's apple breeding program. 400 acres "I remember my very first bite of SnapDragon. The taste, the crispness, and the juiciness impressed us." The first trees were planted in farmers' orchards in 2011, and now 400 acres are growing across the state. According to NYAG, the still-young trees will produce a limited crop this year, but consumers can search out SnapDragon and RubyFrost at select NYAG farm stands across the state. By 2015, the varieties will be vying for space in grocery stores among the Empire, Gala, and Honeycrisp, and there should be about 900 acres producing about a million bushels a years, Crist said. About 60 percent are expected to be SnapDragon. Greater quality, better storage, and disease and insect resistance have long been the goals of Cornell's apple breeding program. Cornell has released 66 apple varieties since the late 1890s, including Cortland, Macoun, Empire, and Jonagold. Brown herself has brought consumers Fortune and Autumn Crisp varieties, as well as ten sweet and one tart cherry variety. In an article in Good Fruit Grower in July 2010, Brown described the ancestry and characteristics of the new, dark red apples. SnapDragon's parents include Honeycrisp on one side. Later to mature (late September) and without the problems that make Honeycrisp hard to grow, pack, and sell, it is said to have the Honeycrisp sweetness, crunch, and juiciness that have become the new standard in the industry. "With uniform ripening, good color development, and freedom from storage problems, New York 1 provides premium apples from a reliable tree," Brown said. New York 2, now RubyFrost, is a cross of Braeburn and Autumn Crisp. It is described as sweet and tart. Brown said it is even more grower friendly than SnapDragon. Harvested mid- to late October, RubyFrost is firm, redskinned, and suited for fresh eating or baking. It is a heavy cropper that will require thinning, she said. The parent Autumn Crisp, released by Cornell in 2009, is a cross of Golden Delicious and Monroe. RubyFrost is expected to —Dr. Susan Brown store well, where Autumn Crisp does not. The trees are being grown by Wafler Nurseries. SnapDragon is a weak- growing tree, Honeycrisp-like, and it is being budded primarily on the stronger M.9 rootstocks like Nic.29. The more vigorous RubyFrost is usually budded on Bud.9 or M.9 337. • Good Fruit Grower SEPTEMBER 2013 9

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