By Annette Pinder

If you’ve never heard of Crunch Time Apple Growers (Crunch Time), despite the fact that the organization is very much a part of our Western New York region and culture, then we share something in common. I, too, had never heard of Crunch Time.

Crunch Time is a cooperative of over 150 family farmers throughout New York State responsible for growing SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples. They are united in one mission — to introduce new, flavorful, delicious, and naturally grown contemporary apple varieties that people love to the marketplace. Not only are the apples unique, healthy, and delicious, but also they are non-GMO.

SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples were both developed by Dr. Susan Brown, a Cornell University professor at the School of Integrative Plant Science who leads Cornell’s renowned apple breeding program. Dr. Brown developed each variety after more than a decade of research. In explaining the unique consistency of these apples, Dr. Brown explains, “I wanted to develop not just a better-tasting apple, but a better-growing apple. I wanted to create an apple that would store well, look beautiful on the shelf, and deliver consistency in size, color, and quality.”

What do the apples taste like? SnapDragon is spicy-sweet with a hint of vanilla and a Monster Crunch. It’s ideal for snacking, sliced in salads, pairs well with light cheeses, peanut butter (my personal favorite), and more. RubyFrost is a beautiful burgundy red color, plump, the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and a great choice for baking. The apples are crisp, have white flesh, and are slow to brown because they are filled with vitamin C, making them the perfect apple to use on charcuterie boards.

According to the Crunch Time growers, the great flavor that is unique to both of these varieties is due to something they call the “Northeastern” factor, as a result of our cold winters, hot summers, timing of the rainy season, and the rich soil. The contrasting temperatures and soil conditions result in apples that have a beautiful color on the outside, and a firm and juicy texture on the inside.

What’s really special is that when you bite into a SnapDragon or RubyFrost apple, you are tasting the love and labor of over 150 New York farmers who are helping to sustain the future of family farming throughout the state for generations to come.

Crunch Time Orchards represents 60 percent of all of New York state’s apple production. You can purchase SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples at many major retailers across the state, including Tops, Wegmans, Aldi, ShopRite, BJ’s, Costco and more! Check out and to find a location nearest to where you live. Visit to learn more. Find some great recipes at