Good fruit grower - red fleshed apples

" The red trait, which is common in crab apples and ornamentals, produces flesh colored anywhere from pink to deep red. Skin color and flesh color are inherited separately, so yellow apples can have red flesh.(Photos courtesy of IFORED)

Next Big Thing’s last big thing was the SweeTango apple. Now, it appears, its next big thing will be apples with red flesh.

The Minnesota-based Next Big Thing cooperative has joined with 12 other fruit marketers from 11 countries and five continents in a global consortium called IFORED. The goal is to bring red-fleshed apples to market within five years. IFORED was coined from the acronym of International Fruit Obtention, the French-based company formed in 2004 to breed for red flesh in apples, and the word red.

Tim Byrne, president of Next Big Thing, said IFORED was created in October, when the fruit marketers met at the IFO headquarters in Angers, France. The consortium will test, select, and commercialize red-fleshed apple varieties. Byrne said a few Next Big Thing grower members across the United States and eastern Canada will plant red-fleshed apple selections this spring. “In the next two years, three or four growers will plant 10 to 15 red-flesh selections, looking for those that have commercial potential,” he said.

IFO was created in 2004 when two large French nursery companies combined their assets and began breeding for apples with unique traits, including red flesh, but also emphasizing disease resistance and fruit quality traits. The company has 50 acres devoted to apple breeding.

Next Big Thing was formed in 2006 to grow and market a new apple from the University of Minnesota’s breeding program. Rights to the apple, MN 1914 and named Minneiska by the university, were licensed to Pepin Heights Orchards, which named the new apple SweeTango and fostered creation of the cooperative.

Next Big Thing consists of 45 growers from across the northern United States and 19 growers in Quebec and Nova Scotia, Canada. It began selling SweeTango apples in small quantities in the fall of 2009. Production was hurt this year by freezes across the Midwest, but the crop was fair in the Northeast and good in eastern Canada and in Washington State, Byrne said.

In a press release announcing IFORED, Bruno Essner, president of the board, said, “We see tremendous potential for red-flesh apples. We have put together a marvelous group of experienced growers and marketers from across the world to harness this potential and to bring distinct apple varieties to market.”


“There is a lot of horsepower here,” Byrne said. The new organization creates a global company. Together, IFORED partners own or control about 100,000 acres of apple orchards. They produce 2 million metric tons of apples per year, and market about 2.5 million metric tons of apples annually.

“IFORED is truly global in scope,” Essner said. “The IFORED partners will bring together deep experience and remarkable market reach as we introduce these ­exciting red-flesh varieties to consumers across the world.”

Byrne said not only color is involved. “There are real opportunities, not only in visual appearance but in flavors and tastes as well,” he said. “There are a lot of flavors that occur in apples that are not currently encountered in our commercial varieties, flavors like citrus and strawberry. There may be health benefits as well, as the red color is associated with antioxidants.”

The varieties under development have flesh that ranges from about 30 percent pink to 100 percent fully intense red, Byrne said, and skin colors include red, orange, yellow, and bicolored.

One apple, which looks like a Golden Delicious outside and a pink grapefruit inside, “ate like a million bucks,” Byrne said, after he tried it.

Flavors in the varieties range from sweet to very tangy, and harvest times range from as early as Gala to as late as Cripps Pink.

IFORED marketers are getting trees ready for planting and will begin commercial production in the next few years. After 20 years of breeding, these third- and fourth-generation selections have been specially bred for reduced astringency, larger size, increased sugar content, more uniform appearance, and improved internal quality, storage, and shelf life, according to IFORED.

In addition to IFO, the partners in IFORED include Montague from Australia, Mono Azul from Argentina, Unifrutti from Chile, Dutoit from South Africa, AMG and Blue Whale from France, Fenaco from Switzerland, NovaMela from Italy, Nufri from Spain, Worldwide Fruit from the United Kingdom, and Next Big Thing from the United States."


That’s an article at least 2 years old isn’t it? Anything new from “Next Big Thing”?

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That’s the point these should be hitting shelves soon. I think they will trademark all of them. They are serious about this the wires are buzzing with red fleshed apples

" Red-fleshed apples: The science behind an uncommon (and much-desired) apple breed

Red-fleshed cultivars contain high concentrations of genetic proteins, antioxidants and natural phenols



Sliced in half apple fruit with vivid red flesh (Getty Images/Photology1971)

Deep in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, a few select farms grow a rare cultivar of apples that look no different than most conventional varieties on the outside. This apple’s taut skin is an amalgamation of yellow, green and blush pink tints, with minuscule white blemishes adorned all over. To an unsuspecting consumer, these delicate apples could easily be mistaken for the commonplace Gala or Braeburn varieties.

But inside, the fruits reveal their deception — their crisp flesh flaunts a striking red hue instead of the typical off-white color marked by most commercial apples. Known as Mountain Rose, Hidden Rose or Airlie Red Flesh apples, these striking apples tout a sugary aroma and an equally saccharine taste with notes of mild tartness. Some say the apples taste like cotton candy, strawberry lemonade, or even fruit punch. Others pick up on its subtle hints of berry and citrus flavors.

Mountain Rose apples — which can only be found in the Pacific Northwest — were first discovered in Airlie, Oregon, more than 60 years ago. Since then, the apples have joined a short list of naturally occurring and red-fleshed varieties spanning across the world. Most of these cultivars, such as the Niedswetzkyana, Almata and Rubaiyat apples, are predominantly found throughout Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other parts of Central Asia. Collectively, the unique varieties are a scientific phenomenon, curiosities of genetics and horticulture.

The presence of red flesh in apple cultivars is caused by the MYB10 gene, a localized genetic protein and transcription factor for anthocyanin pathways. Anthocyanins — which are a type of water-soluble polyphenolic pigment — give fruits and vegetables their signature shades of red, purple, blue or black. Consumers are probably familiar with anthocyanins from the produce aisle: purple potatoes and purple cauliflower, for instance, are those colors because of anthocyanins.

In apples, the pigments manifest in the fruit’s skin — and, sometimes, within their flesh. Subsequently, red-fleshed apple cultivars exhibit “very high concentrations of foliar, flower and fruit anthocyanins,” according to a 2012 study published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

“In the majority of plant species, pigmentation is controlled by the relative amounts of anthocyanins, chlorophyll and carotenoids,” the study further outlined. “These compounds are essential for plant health and performance, but are also considered as phytonutrients or markers for dietary health.”

Anthocyanins act as powerful antioxidants and help shield the fruits from oxidation — the chemical process of gaining oxygen — and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. High levels of antioxidants within red-fleshed apples allow the fruits to preserve their vibrant hue, even after they have been cut into and exposed to oxygen. The apples also retain their vibrancy in high temperatures, making some cultivars an ideal staple in baked goods.

With their extensive quantities of antioxidative phenolics — a class of chemical compounds naturally produced by plants — and anthocyanins, red-fleshed apples boast several nutritional and health benefits. Anthocyanin-rich foods help maintain eye health and aid in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer, according to a 2015 study published in the “Journal of Functional Foods.”

Oftentimes, elevated concentrations of anthocyanins and phenols in red-fleshed apples come with a caveat: an off-putting and bitter taste.

“Plant-based phenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes and glucosinolates are almost always bitter, acrid or astringent,” explained a 2000 study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Want more health and science stories in your inbox? Subscribe to Salon’s weekly newsletter The Vulgar Scientist.

“This poses a dilemma for the designers of functional foods because increasing the content of bitter phytonutrients for health may be wholly incompatible with consumer acceptance,” the study stated.

Fortunately, the Mountain Rose breed doesn’t possess an undesirable taste — just a specific one. Indeed, consumers in the Pacific Northwest seek them out for their flavor, and they command premium prices. Yet if consumers in general do prefer sweeter apples, mixing that with the genes for red flesh might be a feat.

Indeed, the attractive interior apple color caused by anthocyanin-producing genes is something that some farmers seek to emulate for a wider audience. Hence, a few enterprising cultivators in New Zealand and Switzerland have managed to popularize the abnormal fruits through cross-breeding processes with commercial and sweeter varieties.



In 2010, scientists at New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research (PFR) helped decode the sequence of the apple’s genome. The team has since attempted to commercialize a new hybrid between red-fleshed and white-fleshed apple varieties. In that same year, Markus Kobelt — a nurseryman in Buchs, Switzerland — developed his acclaimed Redlove apples after cross-pollinating red-fleshed varieties with Royal Gala and Braeburn apples. Not much is known about the Redloves’ cultivation methods — Kobelt purposefully keeps his techniques a secret — but the apples have been described as “deliciously crisp and tart” and, overall, “biblically perfect.”

Slowly but surely, red-fleshed apples are arising as a culinary marvel and a holiday showstopper. The apples are used to make handcrafted ciders and rosé that are exceptional in both flavor and color (which is, of course, red). Sweeter hybrids and cultivars add an unconventional touch in seasonal galettes, frangipanes, pies and spiced muffins.


Joy Saha is an editorial fellow at Salon, covering Culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park."


The article you posted tells you a lot about the red fleshed apples. Issue I have found with the red love series of apples is it is either marketing for it or many claim tartness which like the article states is not desirable. The only red fleshed apple I would actually grow would be the Mountain Rose apple which I am currently growing. Like the article said the mountain rose apple is supposed to be quite nice. There is supposed to be a cross called Lucy that is part Mountain Rose apple and part Honey Crisp. To my understanding Lucy does not have plants for sale yet and no one is selling any red fleshed apples by me yet. Again this leaves only the mountain rose apple on the market unless you want a apple even the marketing describes as tart. Weird explorer did a video on YouTube on the mountain rose apple. One of the things he noted was that he did a video on the pink oyster apple and he never aired it because there was only specs of pink in the apple. By normal means it looked like a regular apple. That will be a flaw in marketing red fleshed apples in my prediction. My question too is in the case of if or when they go on sale will it be a specialty item like a Comice or Seckle pear. I know all season my local Costco will only carry Bartlett and Anju pears. While there are commercial orchards of Comice and Seckle they are rarely sold around here and if you find a place that does sell them they demand premium prices many are unwilling to pay. Another thing is people like to point out the person who should own the patent or ownership to the mountain rose/ hidden rose apple is heavily in debate. There are 3 people who claim they should have the rights and thus 3 names. Since the mountain rose apple is the best or one of the best red fleshed apples you can grow I presume seeing who actually owns the tree will become more of a contention as many breed from it for the genes for commercial value.

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Still no major US market carries a red fleshed apple.

So, lots of hobbyists may ‘invent’ the first truly delicious red fleshed apple.

Best wishes on all of their endeavors but it sounds like just trying to build up market hoopla in order to sell a product. If you are in position to benefit from their marketing I can see how some tepid excitement would be warranted.

Me? I would be more excited about things that can further my hobby and most of those are of no commercial value, like super dwarfing a plum on sand cherry and reliably pushing the boundaries of my growing zone. Having said that i do have a Redfield tree growing.



Many years ago I dwarfed Japanese plums on prunes besseyi and still have a couple around. That is well worth doing. Canker is bad in my area and so are pc etc. So I kind of gave up on plums eventually. In a colder climate I would highly recommend it.

I think Kroger carried Lucy Glo, and I think its sister, this fall. That’s a major grocer, at least on the West Coast.

Up until I tried Lucy Glo, Aerlie’s Redflesh was the only red fleshed apple that I was confident I’d choose as a winner in a blind taste test (assuming a good specimen). Lucy Glo is significantly better. One of my favorites. I hadn’t heard of Lucy Glos parents before, but it seems to have consistently better flavor than Honeycrisp, and better texture than Aerlie’s.


In regards to Kroger they and sometimes Costco carry a lot of weird fruit. I think last year I found Lychee and figs at my local Costco. My local Kroger is called King Soopers here in Colorado and they constantly have more expensive items that you would not find elsewhere per say. They carry Pluots, Pluerry, Donut peaches, blood oranges and I have not viewed they apple or pear selections very well. Issue with Lucy is the trees are not sold anywhere. You just guessed the apples parents I believe. The parents are the Mountain Rose apple and the honey crisp apple. From my understanding is to grow the trees there is something you have to sign and join. I could not figure it out when selecting apples. Here is a article on the Lucy apple stating parentage The Lucy Apple: A New Red-Fleshed Variety That Tastes Like Honeycrisp With A Hint Of Berries

I was responding to your post, from which I learned the parentage.

I’m pretty sure Lucy Glo is a trademark and a club apple.

I’m skeptical of the information in the article your link, since they don’t seem to know what “variety” means in the context of fruit.

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Yep, here’s the official page for the organization that handles the licensing of the two Lucy varieties, Lucy Glo and Lucy Rose:

Source: Lucy | PVM

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I eventually expect to come up with something better than a cross of Honeycrisp and Airlie’s/Mountain Rose/Hidden Rose.

But it takes time.

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Of course there will always be better crosses of fruit. There is a lot of money to be made by crosses. I even think the koneycrisp is a overhyped variety. The tree itself has a lot of issues and there are better grocery store apples like a Fuji apple. The hidden rose apple is so big because in terms of red fleshed apples I don’t hear about anything with a candy berry like flavor that matches the hidden rose. I would imagine the koneycrisp heritage is holding it back. Of course some older varieties are still heavily cultivated today is the other side of the story. A lot of pears we know and love were created in the 1800s, 1700s and some were created in the 1900s. The Bartlett pear was created in 1765 and is still a staple pear to this day for example. The Spitzenberg apple was George Washington’s favorite apple and while not cultivated commercially is still a heavily enjoyed variety of apple today from home growers. It seems like a lot of the new apples become club apples and are often only cultivated by certain growers. Some varieties the paper you sign says you can grow the apples but you don’t actually even own the tree so I suppose it can mean heavy profits for companies that create improved varieties.


Club apples are like the ‘certified organic’ program…a way to eliminate little guys from competing.

You desire to sell to major stores…gotta have a bar code. How much for one of those…over $10,000 now I think. AGAIN, a means to eliminate small competitors from their fair share of a market.

why i refuse to buy them! i dont need the best new thing that bad. ill do like i do for movies i want to see, once they been out for awhile ill rent them for little coin or watch free on roku channels.

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Lucy Glo is fantastic. I’m not a big fan of Honeycrisp but Glo has it’s marketable texture and sweetness that a lot of red-fleshed varieties lack, plus the candy/berry flavor and color of a good red variety. It’s developed quite a cult following here in California where both Trader Joe’s and some local chains (Nugget, etc) carry it. It’s also been fairly consistent in flavor and color, which is difficult for the reds. I hope it’ll catch people’s interest and get them to search out more complex varieties. We have a lot of small markets near me that carry rare ones like Pink Pearl, Airlie, and Pink Pearmain so there’s a lot to choose from. I think some of those are better at their best but good luck actually acquiring them at their best. It’s neat seeing non-enthusiasts get so excited about an apple, though.

They tried to launch Lucy Rose at the same time as Glo and it seems to be a big flop. I’ve barely seen any chains carry it since the first year, where it was consistently poor in color, flavor and texture. Bleh. Still lots of work to do with red-fleshed varieties.


I’ve had Lucy Rose that were meh, and ones that were really good. As a group, Lucy Glo were excellent, except for a few that had clearly spent way too much time at room temperature.


Redfield seemed quite bland to me. Edible, but better for jelly or something.

I do have 30+ red fleshed but most have not yet fruited.
They bloom early for the most part, so benefit from frost free locations.

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If you like color Kerr is an outstanding apple. It is not red fleshed but somehow it produces a ruby red juice that tastes like cranberries. My daughter doesn’t care for sweet cider but Kerr sweet cider is the exemption.