Honeycrisp (Malus domestica ‘Honeycrisp’) is an apple cultivar developed at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station’s Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Designated in 1960 as the MN 1711, and released in 1991, the Honeycrisp, once slated to be discarded, has rapidly become a prized commercial commodity, as its sweetness, firmness, and tartness make it an ideal apple for eating raw. The Honeycrisp also retains its pigment well and boasts a relatively long shelf life when stored in cool, dry conditions.1
U.S. Plant Patent 7197 and Report 225-1992 (AD-MR-5877-B) from the Horticultural Research Center indicate that the Honeycrisp is a hybrid of the apple cultivars Macoun and Honeygold. However, genetic fingerprinting conducted by a group of researchers in 2004, which included those who were later attributed on the patent, determined that neither of these cultivars is a parent of the Honeycrisp, but that the Keepsake (another apple developed by the same University of Minnesota crossbreeding program) is one of the parents. The other parent has not been identified, but it might be a numbered selection that could have been discarded since.2 According to the US Patent office, the Patent was filed November 7, 1988. As a result, the patent has now expired.3
For the sake of commercial production, Honeycrisp apple trees are not self-fruitful, as trees grown from the seeds of Honeycrisp apples will be hybrids of Honeycrisp and the pollinator.4
In 2006, Andersen Elementary School in Bayport petitioned for the Minnesota state legislature to make the Honeycrisp apple the state fruit; the bill was passed in May 2006.
As a result of the Honeycrisp apple’s growing popularity, the government of Nova Scotia has encouraged its local orchards to increase their supplies through the Honeycrisp Orchard Renewal Program. From 2005 until 2010, apple producers in Nova Scotia could replace older apple trees with Honeycrisp trees at a subsidized rate. Many orchards in the Annapolis Valley on the Bay of Fundy have mature trees and plentiful supplies of Honeycrisps throughout the harvest season. Apple growers in New Zealand’s South Island have begun growing Honeycrisp to supply consumers during the US off-season.5 The first batch of New Zealand-grown Honeycrisp cultivars being introduced to the North American market have been branded using the “HoneyCrunch” registered trademark. Read more