Why do some varieties just disappear

I was wondering why some varieties just seem to disappear from suppliers. For a few year, Sunrise was touted as a very nice pear with good fireblight resistance. Now, it’s virtually impossible to find. I had trouble last year coming up with Pristine apple, and I’m still unable to acquire Zestar. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places. Anyway, I was just wondering what caused these varieties to seemingly vanish after making such an initial splash.

I would think Zestar is still a fairly regional variety since being introduced by the U of MN in the 1990’s. It is very common in WI as we sell it in #5 containers where I work. Lots of commercial orchards now seem to be growing it around here too. Not sure however where to find it bare-root. Try Stark Nursery?

Cummins had Zestar for sale until about a week ago (I guess they sold out). Continue checking them, though, they do recounts and add more trees throughout the fall.

I want to say I think they had Sunrise last year as well. Maybe they’ll put a few up for sale later this fall.

As far as why some fruits become popular and some don’t? I can’t answer that one. It seems very random and mysterious at times.

I would think since nurseries are in business to make money anything that does not sell is culled.


Yes. Also new and hot sells, better or not. I mean look at Nadia…!!

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Well we did that as much as anybody. All the same It’s a keeper for me.
My wife would cut down Flavor King, so tastes do vary.
I think it’s location and sugar production have something to do with it. Flavor Queen in the west with high sugar production is rather bland. Here with lower sugar you can taste the flavor really well, I was surprised how good it was. I was expecting a loser. Or maybe I just like that mild tropical taste?

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And that is what the growers and suppliers are promoting in their advertising.

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I imagine every time someone on our forum starts raving over some wonderful variety, whether new or old, the nurseries get a run on it. Hard to say how many lurkers there are here that judge their purchases on what they read here. I do.


With fruit trees the market is pretty small I think, aside from commercial growers. Selling new things to old customers is easier than old things to new customers.

I hope this forum doesn’t go the way of the fig forums. It is a strange situation where you have many people who are basically resellers cloaking themselves as credible growers… Not to kick dirt, but those resellers have cashed in on the credibility of longtime growers and really killed interest from the general population. Who wants to talk on a forum when you will get flak for being honest about a variety and it it is hurts someone’s “investment”?


Nurseries tend to cycle varieties around. So if there is no nursery offering a specific variety one year, generally it will show up somewhere a few years later.

At one time I thought Clayton had completely disappeared from nurseries. Scott was talking about it a decade ago, but I never saw it offered from a nursery. But here lately, Cumberland Valley is offering it.

Thanks for your input. One of our local orchards offers Zestar, and I was really impressed with it and wanted it in my orchard. I’m forever tweaking things and have been moving more toward later peaches and earlier apples. The local coon population spikes in June, devastating the peaches; and wasps/hornets hurt the late apples. Starks carried Zestar, and they apparently sold out as I was put on a waiting list. However, it now seems to have simply been eliminated from their offerings. I’m sure Adams Co. also offered it. Everything always seems sold out at Adams. Then again, I believe they supply Starks. Both also offered Sunrise as well. It just seemed strange to me that varieties that sold out would not resurface sooner.

According to this link, ACN has Sunrise pear right now:


Adams County inventory changes a lot, even tho a variety may not be available now, it could show up later. Last season I wanted a Contender peach, but they never had it in stock. That is, until mid March, and they suddenly had some. So, I jumped on it and got one along with a Harrow Sweet pear.

I have noticed that they hardly had any pluots in stock, until the last month or so. Their inventory I’m sure fluctuates right up until deliveries start next year.

They show Zestar in their list, but none available. So, it may show up later this year, or even early next spring. I will admit, they do seem to not have a lot of trees available, no matter what time of the year.

Cummins had some Z’s earlier, but are out of them now. I actually got one from them last year. Don’t give up on them either, they might have some later.

Have you tried Fedco for your Zestar? It looks like they might have some in stock. If they don’t, might want to check other nurseries in cool weather places, since Zestar is very hardy.

Also, I know a lot of places that sell scion wood have Zestar. Worst comes to worst, you could buy a few rootstock, and graft in the spring.

Also wanted to mention the patent on Zestar expires Nov. 25, 2017, so Zestar is free to propagate this spring.


I got mine at Grandpas Orchard a few years ago, don’t know if they have them now.

You beat me to it. Though U of Minnesota might come looking for you if you were to sell it under the name Zestar!. They have a trademark on the name, so probably retain some rights to getting paid if you use that name. The cultivar name is Minnewasheta.

It might be that maintaining these legal agreements is a PITA for nurseries, especially if they aren’t getting a ton of commercial requests.

I’d be happy to send scions of Minnewasheta :wink: this spring.


Good points, Levers.

I have half dozen trees of Zestar, which I don’t like, and plan to cut down. I understand Zestar gets great reviews everywhere. In fact I had another commercial grower who recommended it to me.

But, honestly, I’m all about what sells. When I try taste tests from my customers, they always pick the sweeter apple. Zestar has some tartness to it.

I know this deserves criticism from folks who have a lot of experience with apples, who want a complex apple. But honestly, most customers aren’t that sophisticated. When I offer them an apple less sweet (regardless how complex) then offer them a sweeter apple, they prefer the sweeter apple almost every time.

Apparently I’m not that much of an apple aficionado because I generally prefer sweeter apples too. Same with wine. My wife and I once went to a wine tasting. We started with dry wines and moved to tasting sweeter wines. We both liked the sweeter, even though wine experts would scoff.

It’s not quite the same with peaches. I’ve tasted a lot of sub acid peaches which aren’t worth selling imo. Sweet peaches with lots of acid are my preference. Maybe I’m just a peach snob and need to learn to be an apple snob?

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Zestar mellows with storage, and it stores even better than Williams Pride in the same season. But I can’t argue that most folks want a sweet apple that tastes good straight from the tree, and that is what sells.

Speaking of apple snobbery… I have had some wonderfully complex Sweet 16 this year, and they make my Cox children (Suncrisp & Kidds Orange Red) taste positively like a Red Delicious in comparison. It is quite possible that these Sweet 16 ruined apples for me for some time. Err, I shouldn’t say ruined, but made everything else look dimmer in comparison.


I know what you mean by “ruined” Once you get the good stuff, it’s hard to go back. I used to like early peaches, now I can hardly stand any but a few. Yet most of my customers still rave because they are so juicy and so much better than anything they’ve had from the store.

Probably good I never tried heroin. I’m sure it would be so good, I’d never go back.