CFANS sees what others can’t.
And when it comes to producing winter-hardy fruits, vegetables and flowers, we’ve got it down cold.
Minnesota has earned its reputation as “The Nation’s Icebox.” Growing horticultural plants in this climate takes a special kind of toughness. For over a century, CFANS has used plant-breeding innovations along with new growing techniques to keep locally grown fruits and flowers on Minnesota tables year-round.
In CFANS, we use selective plant breeding techniques to develop fruit and flower cultivars that can survive temperatures well below 0 degrees. Dozens of varieties of cold-hardy fruits and flowers have been introduced to the public since the 1920s. But plant breeding is only part of the picture; research, education and outreach also includes techniques and technologies that extend plants’ growing seasons and allow gardeners and commercial food producers to grow local, healthy food no matter how low the wind chill drops.
- The first CFANS-developed cold hardy apple was the Minnehaha, introduced in 1920.
- Even when northern gardeners could find a cold-hardy variety of azaleas, they were only available in shades of pinkish-mauve. That changed in 2015 with the release of a new variety, “Electric Lights Red.”