Why you may not be able to try the new SweeTango apple
At the farmers market today I asked my apple guru Dave Reid what he knew about SweeTango. This is the apple variety that's getting a lot of press as the successor to the phenomenal (in terms of popularity and taste) Honeycrisp.
The SweeTango was developed by the University of Minnesota.
Dave said he wouldn't be growing them anytime soon and told me about the "club variety" concept, something I hadn't known about. To plant certain varieties, growers have to join a club, which is where the name comes from.
After the unexpected success of the Pink Lady apple, Dave told me, brand owners started controlling some new varieties to prevent overplanting. Not everyone can join the club, and it can be expensive to do so.
The growers have to agree to various terms, and marketing is done by the corporation. Financially, it isn't feasible for many small growers to plant club varieties.
What this does for us, the apple eaters, is keep the price of the new variety from falling. ...
I guess from what Dave said if you want to try SweeTango, you'll have to wait until it shows up in your supermarket; but I could be wrong. Let me know if you see it anywhere.
It's always interested me anyway that there are so many varieties of apples for sale, and we all know the names of a lot of them. Can you name one variety of, say, peach? I always ask what peach variety I'm buying at the farmers market, and every couple of weeks it changes. But I never can remember the next season which ones I particularly like.
Maybe next week I'll ask Dave whether all those apple varieties really sell. I guess they do, or he wouldn't bring them to market. But I never see anyone buying anything but Honeycrisps, Gala and Fuji, plus some of the very old varieties for the sake of nostalgia.
I did hear an amazing thing this morning: Someone asked Dave for a Red Delicious. Why not just go to your local Giant.
(AP Photo of the SweeTango/Steve Karnowski)