Vice President for Research Shashank Priya traveled to UMN's Horticultural Research Center in Excelsior on August 21 and met with UMN's legendary "Apple Guys," Professor James Luby and Research Scientist David Bedford, as well as Professor Matthew Clark, who heads up a program that cultivates cold-hardy grapes for northern climates.
Luby and Bedford's research led to the introduction of the world-renowned Honeycrisp apple, which is predicted to be the third-most produced apple in the US this year. Most recently, the UMN apple group released Triumph®, a medium-sized red fruit with a well-balanced flavor that is pleasantly tart, and several years before that, First Kiss (known as Rave when grown outside of Minnesota), an apple with a crisp texture and spritely flavor notable for its early harvest date. The UMN apple breeding program began in 1878 and it has released 28 apple varieties.
Though not as well known as the UMN apple program, the U's grape breeding is recognized as one of the top wine grape research programs in the country, and its cultivars, including Frontenac, Itasca, LaCrescent, and Marquette, have helped build the wine industry in the northern US and other colder climate areas across the world.