A contest gives the University-bred apple a name
By Deane Morrison
The Frostbite apple isn't big, but what it lacks in size it makes up in flavor.
April 11, 2008
Frostbite has been around Minnesota for a long time, but hardly anybody knew about it. The small, sweet apple was bred by the University over 90 years ago, but it lived the obscure life of a breeding stock known by the unglamorous moniker MN447. All that changed, however, last fall, when the U decided to release the apple and held a public contest to confer a new name worthy of its flavor and hardiness. Run by the U's Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the contest had entries pouring in by the bushel--at least 7,000 all told. In late March this year, the appropriately Minnesota-y winning name was revealed. "The frost part signifies cold-hardy, and the bite part--we want people to do that," says U fruitbreeder and horticultural science professor Jim Luby, who coordinated the judging with apple scientist David Bedford of the University's 100-year-old Horticultural Research Center (HRC) in Chaska.
Apples of their ears
With 7,000 entries, the apple-naming contest turned up its share of colorful also-rans, many of which played on the apple's tropical flavor but northern lineage. Here are a few:
and last but not least:
>Last Tango in Embarrass
A primer on apple
Apple blossoms, explains Jim Luby, will only form fruit if pollinated by a tree of a different variety. But because the flesh of the fruit is produced by the maternal branch, it always matches the maternal variety, regardless of which variety supplied the pollen. The seeds within the fruit are hybrid, however, and will grow into trees bearing fruit with different traits from the maternal tree.
To preserve desirable traits, breeders propagate apple trees not by seeds but by grafting branches from the chosen variety onto rootstock. When mature, the branches will always bear apples with the same (maternal) flesh as the graft.
© 2009-2011 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
Last modified on March 9, 2009