Stemilt Introduces New Apple Variety
As the grower/marketer with the rights to University of Minnesota’s newest apple brand, Rave, Stemilt Growers has introduced the early season apple variety, available to consumers in select regions come late August.
Rave is the brand name for the apple cultivar MN55, which is a cross between Honeycrisp and an unreleased variety called MonArk. It was first developed through natural cross-pollination 20 years ago by David Bedford as part of the apple breeding program at the University of Minnesota. Bedford is also the breeder behind the popular Honeycrisp and its successor, SweeTango apples.
Last fall, the University of Minnesota chose Rave as the brand name for the apple and Stemilt then designed a logo, PLU sticker and packaging ahead of the apple’s introductory year. The company played off people’s common use of the word rave to praise things they like and messaging “the apple you’ll rave about,” utilized bold colors to attract shoppers to the brand and created #RaveApples to promote social buzz.
“Rave is the fun, social apple with a flavor that you’ll love so much, you’ll have to tell someone about it,” says Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. “Although volumes are limited in this launch season, we are excited to get these into shoppers’ hands and hear what they think.”
Just like Honeycrisp, the Rave apple has the ability to fracture when bitten, and offers its own unique flavor that is described as “outrageously juicy with a refreshing, snappy zing.” It will also have the unique position of harvesting and going to market before any other apple variety in Washington State, due to its ability to color and ripen during the summer heat.
“Rave not only allows retailers to get a jumpstart on apple season each year, but do so with an apple that is stunning to look at, and incredible to eat,” says Shales.