Up in St. Paul, David Bedford is known as the University of Minnesota’s Apple Guy: a research scientist who has been breeding apples for 30 years now. By his own estimation, he’s tasted 1,125,000 of them. (What do a thousand apples a day keep away?) But Bedford still remembers the first time he tasted a SweeTango, which he developed. “It was the first week of September, twelve years ago,” he told us. “That day stands out.”
The apple — a new cross between the Honeycrisp and the Zestar varieties that’s due to hit apple carts in the fall of 2009 — is crisp, sweet, and complex (sort of like Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour). And despite the ® attached to its name, the apple is not genetically modified. Bedford and his team combined the crispness of Honeycrisp (our most recent new favorite apple) and the juiciness of Zestar through grafting and endless refining. The result, Bedford says, “is one intense apple.” And unlike the Red Delicious — “the absolute epitome of a poorly balanced apple” — which is low in sugar and has no acid, SweeTango is high in both sugar and acid. It’s like turning an apple all the way up to 11.
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