Only Pepin Farms has access to U's new apple breed
The U of M decided to give exclusive rights to its newest apple breed, the SweeTango, to Pepin Farms Orchard, the state's largest apple grower.
When the U released its last apple, the Honeycrisp, growers planted it in ground that was not conducive to its thriving. While this has led to its wider availability, the apple's quality went down and the price has been declining, a University official explained to Minnesota Public Radio.
The U's move to turn over the reins to Pepin Farms means that independent farmers in Minnesota cannot take part in growing what an official press release calls "a superior apple-eating experience."
Since the U's patent on the Honeycrisp expired in November, the school's apple breeding program is counting on funds from Pepin Farms and from royalties on the SweeTango to continue one of three programs of its kind in the country, the Twin Cities Daily Planet said.
What is the public's response? An editorial in the Minnesota Daily called the agreement a "monopoly." The owner of a roadside market told the Daily it was "terribly unethical."