The Grand Rapids Garden Club and the 8th District-Minnesota State Horticultural Society will present Fall Apple Festival on Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. -3 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, 1701 S.E. 5th Avenue.

The program’s featured speaker will be Dr. Jim Luby, fruit breeder from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Luby directs the program which is actively breeding apples, blueberries, grapes, and a selection of other species. The apple breeding program has released over thirty apple varieties and University apple varieties account for over 80 percent of all apples grown in Minnesota.

In 1991 it released “Honeycrisp” which is now one of the top five apple varieties grown in the United States and rapidly becoming one of the most popular apple varieties in the world. Honeycrisp has changed how people experience apples. It’s world-renowned for its taste and crunch. It’s basically set the industry standard. Customers are willing to pay double or more for Honeycrisp apples. In 2006, Honeycrisp was named one of the 25 innovations that changed the world.

Since 2006, other new apple varieties introduced by Dr. Luby’s breeding program include Zestar, Frostbite, Snowsweet, Sweet Tango, and the most recent-First Kiss (Rave) in 2018. Dr. Luby along with David Bedford, won the 2019 “Impact Award” from the University of Minnesota in April 2019, which recognizes the researcher whose innovation has most positively and most broadly had an impact on global society and improves quality of life.

Dr. Luby will discuss the goals and objectives of the program as well as talk about the history of the program, and interesting facts about development of these popular varieties and unique aspects of their selection.

Other events of the day include awarding of the 2019 8th District Beautification Awards and Community Service Awards, a garden related country store, and a noon luncheon. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day, and raffle drawings will occur at the end of the meeting. Everyone is welcome. Registration is $25 for the day. Question and registration information can be obtained through grandgardenclub@gmail.com or by calling 651-261-6876.

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