The product of a breeding program at the University of Minnesota, the SweeTango apple variety is gaining numbers, says a growers cooperative.


The SweeTango apple

The 2016 crop is now estimated at 450,000 standard 40-lb boxes, an 18 percent increase over last year’s crop of 380,000 boxes.

Here’s the press release:

Lake City, Minn. – July 13, 2016 – Members of the Next Big Thing Growers’ Cooperative today released their estimates for the 2016 crop of SweeTango, the sweet, tangy, and remarkably crunchy apple that was developed by the University of Minnesota to feature the best characteristics of the Honeycrisp and Zestar! apple varieties.


The projected crop yield is 450,000 standard 40-lb boxes, which is an 18% increase over last year’s crop of 380,000, and 9% larger than the 2014 harvest of 413,000 boxes.


Preliminary projections estimated a yield of 465,000 boxes for 2016, however severe storms on July 8 in Suttons Bay in northern Michigan produced hail up to 2” in diameter that caused extensive damage to the crop in that region, thereby reducing the overall estimate.  Other growing regions across the U.S. and Canada have not been adversely affected by weather to date.


The timing of the harvest varies by growing region, as orchards are spread across differing climates in locations like Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, and Nova Scotia, Canada.  Washington will begin harvest first in early August, which means SweeTango will start appearing in the market around Labor Day.


As the SweeTango apple crop has continued to grow over the past decade, so does the length of the season. Once a hyper-seasonal fruit due to limited yields from a relatively small number of young orchards, SweeTango’s season is now expected to extend from early September to late December.  This is great news for SweeTango’s enthusiastic and loyal consumer following.


Theron Kibbe, executive director of Next Big Thing Growers’ Cooperative noted, “We are looking forward to a good size SweeTango crop of excellent quality, with sizes that retailers are successful with. We have a robust marketing program in place that will drive shoppers to stores with SweeTango apples on their lists. We also will be partnering with retailers with in-store activities designed to increase trial and introduce new shoppers to SweeTango’s tangy-sweet flavor and exceptional crunch.”

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Headquartered in Lake City, Minn., Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative is a 45-member cooperative of family growers, spread over five time zones from Nova Scotia to Washington State, that grows and markets managed varieties of apples, beginning with SweeTango. You can find more information on SweeTango at or on Facebook at

Editor’s note: The spelling of SweeTango has been corrected, Good Fruit Grower regrets the error.