Better, Sweeter, Stronger: UMN’s Fruit Research Program
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have a history of developing new fruit varieties.
The fruit research program, which helped develop the state’s reputation for apple breeding and introduce wine-growing to the region, is a lucrative venture. In the past three decades, fruit research has brought in over $27 million in revenue, with the large majority coming from apples.
But Luby said creating the perfect fruit can take time. Researchers essentially play matchmaker: cross-breeding plants over and over again until they have the perfect result — a sweet, crisp apple, a big red strawberry, or in the case of kiwiberries, a tropical tasting fruit that can grow in Minnesota.
Luby said new apples varieties, for example, can take 20-plus years to create; berries and grapes are closer to 10 or 15 years.
Researchers say one of the most important processes is breeding plants that can withstand the state’s cold weather while still producing good fruit.
Read the full story in the Minnesota Daily.