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SweeTango, a registered trademark for the fruit produced by the Minneiska trees, is the apple cultivar Minneiska. It is a newly released hybrid brand apple that debuted in 2009.[1] The spelling of the name, SweeTango, is with one capital “T” and is one word. It is a pinkish apple consisting of a yellow background that is intermittent with red coloration.[2] The surface of the apple has several distinguishing visual characteristics, with freckle-like white lenticels. This variety is also prone to exhibit some net-like russeting in certain seasons.


SweeTango’s have a texture similar to Honeycrisp with a slightly tart and citric quality. The name is a portmanteau of the words sweet and tangy. The news release slogan used upon announcement of the 2010 season crop was Let Your Taste Buds Dance![3]


University of Minnesota produced this variety of apple from their breeding program.[1] They have given it the testing designation “MN 1914”. Their 80 acre Horticultural Research Center near Victoria, Minnesota, produced the Minneiska variety apple from Honeycrisp and Zestar apple varieties, which they also specially breed. Other apple varieties they have developed in their facility are Fireside, Haralson, and Honeygold. The Minneiska variety is a hybrid between the Honeycrisp (mother) apple and the Zestar apple (pollinator, “father”).[2] The “Zestar” is the apple cultivar Minnewashta and is the “father” of the SweeTango.[4] The Association of University Technology Managers named the Honeycrisp apple one of the top 25 innovations that changed the world.[5]

David Bedford, the inventor of the Minneiska (SweeTango brand) apple says,

We’re very excited about our newest apple, SweeTango. I think that it’s one of the best apples that we’ve discovered in 100 years of breeding at the University of Minnesota.[6]


One of the growers of the new SweeTango brand apple held a “taste-off” on September 11, 2010. Of the 472 votes for the best tasting apple, 237 (50.21%) were for the SweeTango variety, 132 (27.97%) were for the Honeycrisp variety, and 103 (21.82%) were for the Zestar apple variety. In the 2009 “taste-off” the SweeTango received 321 (67.30%) votes out of 477, Zestar got 103 (21.59%) out of the 477, and Honeycrisp got 53 (11.11%) out of the 477 cast votes.[7]

WCCO Broadcasting explains that the SweeTango is a good eating apple as well as a good cooking apple and goes on to say

The apple has all the sugar you crave with just a hint of tartness, just the right combination for any fruit fanatic.[8]

Wall Street Journal says that New York farmers are looking for the next big “Moneycrisp”, previously the Honeycrisp, and believe the SweeTango is it for the future.[9]

USA Today writes that Minnesota apple growers believe that SweeTango is a possible worthy successor to the popular and highly successful Honeycrisp apple variety.[10]

Associated Press reports on the Hot New Apple: SweeTango, Spicy and Sweet and gives an extensive review.[11]

StarTribune newspaper reports that the AppleHouse opens at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum featuring the new SweeTango .[12]

The News Tribune newspaper writes a report that the Licensing deal for hot new apple comes under fire for University of Minnesota’s exclusive rights to the intellectual property of the SweeTango growing exclusive licensing deals.[13] Others have explained the concept behind this.[14][15][16]

Post-Bulletin newspaper reports that Pepin Heights Orchard believes that they have the next “dynamite” apple with the SweeTango.[17]

University of Minnesota reports that this new brand of apple is a “managed variety”, meaning to maintain high quality standards.[18]

Foodgreekery believes that SweeTango is Honeycrisp’s nightmare.[19]

A fruit grower comments on the SweeTango in confidence of its future

The growers and marketers of the new apple variety SweeTango share confidence in its future.[20]

A recipe for SweeTango apple cobbler can be found online.[21] Numerous reviews of the SweeTango apple can be found online.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30]


The SweeTango apple style is harvested in late August and early September.[2] They became available for purchase in limited quantities at select retailers across the United States and Canada in September 2009.[1] They are also available to purchase at certain online apples stores.[2] SweeTango is one of 24 apple varieties created by University of Minnesota’s scientists in Minnesota.

A list of sellers from California to Michigan of this new variety of apple is available at the following website: Eat Like No One Else.[31]

Grower’s Cooperative

A grower’s cooperative of 45 members from Nova Scotia to Washington State is involved in growing and selling this new variety of apple.[1] This cooperative is known as the Next Big Thing.[32]

Trademark and Patent

The trademark called “SweeTango” belongs to the University of Minnesota for its apple fruit of the “Minneiska” cultivar.[2][33][34] Cultivar means a variety of plant that originated under cultivation.[35] Cultivar is a combining of cultivated and variety.[35]

Patent No.: US PP18,812 P3 says it was obtained on May 13, 2008 by inventors David S. Bedford and James J. Luby. The varietal denomination “Minneiska” has a Latin name of Malus domestica and its patent says in part

Asexual reproduction of the new cultivar was first accomplished by means of budding and grafting by the inventors in Excelsior, Minnesota.[36]

The Patent for this apple cultivar goes on to say it is distinct

The present invention relates to a new and distinct cultivar of apple tree…[36]

It further says of the new apple variety

Minneiska’ was selected for its unique combination of fruit traits. Of particular importance is its early ripening season, its very crisp and juicy texture, and its unusually long storage life for an early ripening variety.The main feature distinguishing ‘Minneiska’ from other early ripening varieties known to the inventor is the longer time that its fruit can be stored with little change in texture or flavor.

‘Minneiska’ fruit have a storage life of 3 to 4 months in refrigeration compared to one or two months for other common commercial early season varieties we have observed including ‘State Fair’ (not patented), ‘Arends’ (U.S. Plant Pat. No. 2,800), and ‘Minnewashta’.[36]

The Patent compares this new apple style to the state fruit of Minnesota, the Honeycrisp apple

‘Minneiska’ has an early ripening season with fruit ripening occurring approximately the first week of September in Excelsior, Minnesota. Ripening time is slightly after ‘Minnewashta’, and approximately two to three weeks before ‘Honeycrisp’[36]

The Patent further shows that the new apple variety has characteristics superior to the Honeycrisp apple (its “mother”)

‘Minneiska’ is readily distinguished from its parent ‘Honeycrisp’ in that the fruit of ‘Minneiska’ ripen approximately two to three weeks earlier.[36]
Written on May 3rd, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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