SweeTango Apples To Hit Store Shelves in 2009

LAKE CITY, MINN., September 23, 2008 ­–– A new apple to be sold under the name SweeTango* will grace store shelves beginning in fall 2009. A cross between Honeycrisp™ and Zestar!™varieties, SweeTango’s satisfying “crunch” and complex flavor combination promise a superior apple-eating experience. Juicy and sweet with hints of fall spices, SweeTango’s flavor, balanced by vibrant acidity, dances to a long and satisfying finish on the palate.

After more than a decade of development, SweeTango will hit the shelves, in limited volumes, at select retailers in 2009. The same apple breeders who released the Honeycrisp developed SweeTango. The new apple will be grown and marketed by Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative – a unique partnership of some of the most respected family-owned orchards in North America.

“It can take 30 years and 10,000 attempts to find a great-tasting apple,” said David Bedford, University of Minnesota apple breeder and key contributor in the development of SweeTango, Honeycrisp and Zestar! “Consumers who have tried the SweeTango apple in focus groups are telling us we’ve found something special with this new apple, specifically citing its complex flavor combination as a key attribute that sets this apple-eating experience apart from any other.”

The name SweeTango was chosen to reflect the harmonious flavor combination you experience upon first bite. The distinctive crispness and complex flavors of the apple promise to make it an immediate consumer favorite.

Harvested early in the growing season, SweeTango is a managed apple variety, which means only select, licensed growers can produce the fruit.

“Next Big Thing is committed to marketing appealing apples with unusual qualities and tastes to people who love good food,” said Dennis Courtier, director of Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative. “SweeTango is just that kind of apple. It is unlike anything most people have ever tasted and we look forward to making it available for retail sale in 2009.”

About Next Big Thing

Headquartered in Lake City, Minn., Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative is a 45-member cooperative of family growers, spread over five time zones from Nova Scotia to Washington State, that will grow and market managed varieties of apples, beginning with SweeTango®.

About the U of M Apple Breeding Program

In 1908 the University of Minnesota created the Fruit Breeding Farm, now known as the Horticultural Research Center, on 80 acres near Victoria, Minn. Over the next century the farm grew to become the center of fruit research and breeding, particularly for northern climates. Apple varieties that have been named and released by the University include Fireside, Haralson, Honeygold and, more recently, Honeycrisp® and Zestar!

*SweeTango is a registered trademark of the University of Minnesota for fruit of the Minneiska cultivar