The idiom “apples to apples” means comparing two things that are fundamentally the same. But let’s consider real apples for a moment and the crazy price difference between, say, a Red Delicious apple and a Honeycrisp. It’s nuts!
So what exactly makes the Honeycrisp three times more expensive? Yes, they come along once a year, but is there more going on than just supply and demand?
Since its commercial introduction, Honeycrisps have grown enormously in popularity. They are crunchy, tangy, and sweet with an amazing texture. All the things an apple connoisseur would love.
Honeycrisp apples were originally created by David Bedford at the University of Minnesota with the intent of extending the apple season – Honeycrisps are winter-resistant and durable. Great news, right?
Well, not so fast. It just so happens this high-maintenance fruit is in need of special care. Specifically, the Honeycrisp tree requires a particular type of soil in order to grow fruit, and there is more labor needed since the harvest seasons are more frequent.
But that’s not all. The skin of the fruit is particularly delicate requiring farmers to have to carefully snip eat apple by hand, so the stems don’t bruise the other apples during transport. And get this – since the Honeycrisp apple is a larger, heavier fruit, the naturally weak branches of the Honeycrisp tree must be held up by trellises!
See, high maintenance.
Now, what about supply and demand? Well, that cost is passed onto the consumer, as well. New Honeycrisp trees take up to 6 years to produce enough fruit for commercial sale. Sheesh.
But before we criticize the price of these very special apples, I say we enjoy them even more for all the effort put into their growth. They essentially are the perfect apple. So, the next time you pick up a Honeycrisp at your grocery store or farmers market, remember they are meant to be savored.