UPDATE: NY apple growers: SnapDragon, RubyFrost are newest

August 1, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — SnapDragon and RubyFrost are the names of two new apples that will soon hit selected farm stands after more than a decade of development by Cornell University.

The official names of the varieties previously known as "New York 1" and "New York 2" were announced Thursday afternoon by Jeff Crist of New York Apple Growers at Cornell's annual fruit grower field days in Geneva.

SnapDragon is described as crisp and juicy like its parent, the popular Honeycrisp. Cornell says RubyFrost will be popular with fans of Empire and Granny Smith.

Cornell's apple-breeding program has taken a new approach to commercializing the new varieties. Instead of publicly releasing them to all growers, Cornell has forged a licensing agreement with a new industry group, New York Apple Growers.

Previously known as New York one and two, the new varieties are easier for growers to produce.They’re also designed to have major appeal to to kids says Susan Brown, the developer behind the two apple types based at Cornell’s Department of Horticulture.

She says SnapDragon will be popular with consumers and growers alike because it’s a hybrid of the much loved Honeycrisp apple, but in addition to the easier production, can be grown for more months out of the year.

But, it’s Ruby Frost, an Autumn Crisp cross, that will be popular with parents trying to fill kids lunchboxes.

“The reason for the cross was to produce non-browning fruit that don’t brown when you cut them which is important for kids in school lunches." says Brown," Cornell research has showed that kids eat much more apples, maybe 70 percent more if they’re sliced than if they’re whole. So for toddlers, for daycares, it’ll be huge.”

But don’t expect to get your hands on the new varieties just yet.

Instead of releasing them publicly Cornell will retain the intellectual copyright in the varieties and license them to the New York Apple Growers group.

If you want to try them head to your local upstate farmers market in the fall, because it’ll be another year before they make their way onto the shelves of local supermarkets.

Associated Press 2013. All rights reserved.