Imagine a fall without Minnesota-grown apples. Before the University of Minnesota got involved, there were no apple trees that could survive our harsh climate. Horace Greeley reportedly said in 1860, "I would not live in Minnesota because you can't grow apples there."
In 1865, U of M researchers obtained about 150 apple cultivars from Russia, for evaluation and for crossbreeding experiments, and have since made steady progress. Apple varieties introduced by the U of M include the Haralson, Beacon, Fireside, Regent, Honeygold, and Honeycrisp--a complete list follows. Each has its own flavor and harvest time, and more importantly, each is hardy in our state.
In addition to apples, the U of M has also introduced many economically important varieties of hardy grape, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, plum, pear, currant, apricot, and gooseberry. These varieties of fruits are grown not only in Minnesota, but also throughout the northern U.S. and Canada. Our northern harvest season would be much less colorful if it weren't for the horticulture researchers at the U of M.
Apple varieties introduced by the U of M are as follows: Minnehaha 1920, Folwell 1922, Wedge 1922, Haralson 1923, Beacon 1936, Prairie Spy 1940, Minjon 1942, Vicotry 1943, Fireside 1943, Redwell 1946, Oriole 1949, Lakeland 1950, Regent 1964, Honeygold 1969, Red Baron 1969, State Fair 1978, Sweet Sixteen 1978, Keepsake 1979, Honeycrisp 1990, Zestar 1998.
~Stewart Corn, St. Paul, MN, and Jim Luby, St. Paul, MN