New Apple Variety Is One Stemilt Hopes Consumers Will ‘Rave’ About

'Rave' is a cross between 'Honeycrisp' and an unreleased variety called ‘MonArk.' 'Rave' was bred by the University of Minnesota and will be grown and sold exclusively by Stemilt in the U.S. (Photo credit: Stemilt)
‘Rave’ is a cross between ‘Honeycrisp’ and an unreleased variety called ‘MonArk.’ ‘Rave’ was bred by the University of Minnesota and will be grown and sold exclusively by Stemilt in the U.S. (Photo credit: Stemilt)

The University of Minnesota has chosen ‘Rave’ as the brand name for fruit sold from the University’s newest apple variety, MN55, which Stemilt Growers holds the license to grow, pack, and market in North America. The name ‘Rave’ was selected to play off of the apple’s many attributes, including its incredible crunch and juicy flavor, as well as its unique position as the first apple to ripen in Washington State, coming off the tree in late July.

“We are beyond excited about the chosen brand name of our newest star apple. The ‘Rave’ apple has explosive flavor and with its early harvest timing and dessert qualities, it will reinvent the month of August for the apple category. We look forward to bringing small volumes of ‘Rave’ apples to market in 2017,” said Stemilt marketing director Roger Pepperl.

The highest quality fruit from MN55 trees will go to market from Stemilt growers as ‘Rave’ apples beginning in summer 2017. MN55 is a variety that was born in 1997 at the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program. It’s a cross between ‘Honeycrisp’ and an unreleased variety called ‘MonArk.’ With similar, yet more defined flavor and quality attributes as ‘Honeycrisp’ combined with ‘MonArk’s’ ability to ripen early yet color well and maintain a crisp, juicy texture through the summer heat, Stemilt says ‘Rave’ apples will be the next standout in the produce department.

The journey to develop a new apple cultivar is not a quick process and requires great efforts. During the 17 years from original breeding to the final release and licensing of MN55 to Stemilt, the University of Minnesota conducted rigorous testing to ensure the variety was of high enough quality to be commercially released. This process included five to six years of testing at multiple locations across the U.S. Together with Stemilt, the University of Minnesota landed on ‘Rave’ as the brand name for the apple earlier this summer.

“’Rave’ is a powerful brand name for apples, and one that we know will leave a lasting impression on consumers, especially after they bite into one. ‘Rave’ joins our breeding program’s other success stories, ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘SweeTango’, and helps us meet our goal of bringing excitement to consumers as they shop for apples,” said David Bedford, research scientist for the University of Minnesota apple breeding program.

‘Rave’ also is another chapter in Stemilt’s story of bringing innovative products to market. The company introduced ‘Piñata!’ to the marketplace in 2009, and also supplies the West Coast with the University’s popular ‘SweeTango’ apple.

“We are constantly seeking new apple varieties with flavors and qualities that will ‘wow’ the consumer. It’s all about building fruit fans of tomorrow, and ‘Rave’ certainly has the ‘wow factor’ to do just that. We can’t wait to bring this phenomenal apple into stores next August,” said Pepperl.

Stemilt is now in the process of developing a logo and packaging for ‘Rave’ apples, and expects to unveil a look later this year.

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