At Esquire, Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn looks at the story behind why the Honeycrisp apple is so expensive:
With Galas and Romes and Granny Smiths and Red Deliciouses still going for a dollar and change per pound, the price of Honeycrisps — presently hovering around $4.50 a pound here in New York — is something previously unheard of in the scheme of apple pricing. In almost 400 years of cultivating apples on these shores, Honeycrisp may be the first true name-brand variety to hit the shelves — a designer apple, the first malus domestica to price out of a segment of the market.
Even David Bedford, the man responsible for creating the Honeycrisp 20 years ago (via good old-fashioned cross breeding, not nefarious genetic splicing and dicing), is astonished by the apple’s success. “I have absolutely never seen this price phenomenon with another apple,” says Bedford, a scientist at the University of Minnesota. “There are varieties that have garnered a 10 percent premium to standard pricing, and usually they have a promotional campaign behind them. They eventually fade out. Honeycrisp has never had a national marketing campaign — it’s truly a grassroots phenomenon. I’ve had to ask myself, ‘Is this real?’”
Right now, it’s simply supply and demand: We love them, we want them, and there’s not a lot of them because they are currently only grown in certain regions like: Minnesota, Michigan, and Upstate New York. Dunn says farmers will probably attempt to start growing the popular apple in imperfect locations, which may affect the apple’s quality. Luckily for us, the University of Minnesota holds the patent (!) for the Honeycrisp, and they’re only licensing trees to growers in ideal climates.