SweeTango still a rotten deal

Dean Durgan’s facts do little to clear up consumer, farmer concerns.

Dean Beverly Durgan has questioned the accuracy of our Editorial Board, which stands by each word of âÄúSweeTango a rotten dealâÄù printed September 23. Durgan readers would have gleaned the contrary, but we never once claimed independent farmers did not have access to SweeTango apple trees, nor did we simply claim independent growers canâÄôt sell the apples wholesale. The truth is that farmer members of a national co-op can sell them to commercial buyers; non-members, mostly smaller farms, cannot. âÄú50,000 treesâÄù may sound like a lot for Pepin Farms to offer, but large orchards âÄúwould typically have 4,000 to 5,000âÄù alone, according to the DailyâÄôs initial coverage published September 7, which also explained that Jim Rhodes, assistant business development specialist at the University said âÄútheyâÄôre trying to keep the SweeTango exclusive and controlled.âÄù When the Honeycrisp patent expired the University sought to replace a massive revenue hole. So they limited the number of SweeTango apple trees available with purchase caps to drive up prices and revenues. Perhaps Durgan should criticize her colleague for being honest and lobby for tighter University PR, rather than oversimplify the claims of the Editorial Board, which makes use of available facts to offer larger commentary. To the dismay of the veiling forces of public relations everywhere, editorials can do what objective news cannot: connect limited dots to make a claim, as distasteful as that may be to our sugar-coated University and its sweet little apples.