Grand Rapids is probably the northern limit for many of the varieties produced by our own University of Minnesota. In saying that, we know we are gambling a little in our hopes to produce apples on a consistent basis, but it is a venture that we are excited about and anticipate challenges.
Some of the apple trees are over 15 years old at this time, and we continue to replace varieties we are not happy with and some trees that have succumb to winter. We have about 1200 trees all on very dwarfing rootstocks. The plants are grown in a slender spindle system. The spacing ranges between 3 and 6 feet between plants with rows 12 feet apart. Our pruning systems involves taking out the 2-3 largest branches each spring along with narrowing the trees to allow good sunlight exposure throughout the tree.
We have planted several old time favorites, but also have many newer varieties like Honeycrisp, Zestar, Frostbite, Kindercrisp and the exciting new variety called SweeTango. In 2016 we also put in a small planting of Minnesota's latest release, First Kiss. It is an early variety with flavor and texture characteristics similar to Honeycrisp plus a long storage life.
2019 prices for Honeycrisp, SweeTango and First Kiss- $/ lb.
Zestar and most other apple varieties will be $/lb.