This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

What Goes Into That Apple You're Eating

PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- In front of the barn on this writer's Oregon farm, two apple trees have been producing their pale green fruit since mid-August, only to let it develop a slight blush and fade to yellow. The farm's previous owner had no idea where the trees came from, but their resulting, unidentified apples are crisp and sweet, press into an excellent cider and melt into a near-puree when baked. They're serviceable, but would anyone ever buy them?

As the crisp air returns and the windfall apples begin to drop, the very term "apple picking" changes from a description of seasonal recreation to the hard core of U.S. agriculture's business.

Whether in the orchards or in the produce section, consumers are selecting their apples from myriad varieties, each with its own point of origin and each benefiting different producers and creators. Beyond the orchards and farms, there are government and university agriculture programs relying on income from those differing apple varieties to fund their future endeavors.

The stakes are a bit higher this year, as the Department of Agriculture has forecast an apple crop of 246.5 million bushels for 2013. That's much larger that the frost-decimated 217.5 million-bushel crop from last year that forced a 12% price increase from 2011. With some of the pricing pressure off, the ground is slightly more level for the various apple cultivars.

That's helping Americans branch out a bit with their apple choices. Back in 1996, 60% of the apples sold in the U.S. were either Golden Delicious or Red Delicious. Neither are overly sweet or tart, neither is especially crisp and neither inspires nearly as much enthusiasm today. The sales of those apples have dwindled to roughly a third of all sales as consumers reap the benefits of advances in apple breeding.

One of the apples that has risen to prominence as a result is the Honeycrisp, developed by the fruit breeding program at the University of Minnesota. James Luby, who is the program's director and has been pairing varieties there since 1982, spoke with us at length about the apple breeding process four years ago. He explained that 15- to 20-year development process generally keeps companies such as Monsanto (MON) and Del Monte (DEL) out of the apple industry, as does the sheer amount of chance involved in developing an apple.

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs