In the fall of 2011 I worked out at a Michigan apple orchard. Part of my job was to go to the farmer's market twice a week to help sell their apples. I love the farmer's market environment. It was a fun being able to interact with people and answer their apple questions. One of the questions I get the most (besides do you spray and do you have such and such apple), is why are Honeycrisp apples so expensive? We sold most of our apples for $2.75 for a quart box. However a quart of Honeycrisp costs $4.25. Go the grocery store it is the same story. While other apples are going for $.99 to $1.99 a pound, Honeycrisp are often at $1.99 to $3.99 a pound. I have even seen them up to $4.99 a pound. Often they are a large apple. I have seen some that weigh 1 pound. We are talking $5 for one apple!
Why are Honeycrisp so darn expensive?
Reasons Honeycrisp Apples are Expensive
There are two main reasons that these apples will cost you more of your hard earned dough.
Honeycrisp are Hard to Grow
Honeycrisp has gained popularity despite the challengings for growing it. For a commerical apple is one of the most difficult to grow. For example, the orchard I worked for had problems with the apple splitting. Typically each week, we end up with a basket full of Honeycrisp apples that had cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. We could not sell them - so they became free samples for the help!
I know the farm I worked for has had trouble with grafting the trees. Grafting is a way to take a branch from one tree, plant it on the root stock of another tree to reproduce the same apple as the original tree the branch came from.
People Will Pay for Honeycrisp
Another reason why they are more money is simply because the market dedicates it. If people are willing to pay the price, then why not charge them that price. The Honeycrisp has gotten the reputation as being a premium apple, so people expect to pay a premium price. I have seen the apples being sold for $3.99 a pound during February and people seem to have no problem filling their bags full of them. Now if people stop paying that price, then naturally the prices would have to go down or no apples would be sold. It's all clever marketing.
So these are the basic reasons why you are going to pay more for those Honeycrisp. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it. If you are willing to pay for them, then expect to keep on paying the same amount for them.
How to Save Money on Honeycrisp Apples
If you are looking for the best deal on Honeycrisp apples then the secret is to head to the farmer's market. Try to find a vendor that is selling "seconds". These apples don't look as perfect as the "firsts". There is nothing wrong with the flavor at all, but because they don't look as good they go for a cheaper price.
I have decided they are good apples, but are not that good, so I've switched to the Pink Lady apples that are half the price and are a great apple also.
As an FYI -- Whole Foods on Westlake in Seattle, as well as Metropolitan Market on Mercer in Seattle, both have "new crop" local organic Honeycrisps for sale as of September 17!