WENATCHEE, Wash. – As the grower/marketer with the rights to University of Minnesota’s newest apple brand, Rave™, Stemilt Growers is set to harvest the apple’s first commercial crop and introduce this special early season apple 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 then Stemilt got to work on designing 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.” Stemilt used fun, bold colors in order to attract shoppers to the brand, and will use #RaveApples to promote social buzz around Rave™ this season and beyond.
The parentage of the apple gives Rave™ the ability to fracture when bitten, just like Honeycrisp. Rave™ has its own special flavor that’s best 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,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager.
While volume will be limited this season, volumes are predicted to grow quickly following this introductory year as new acreage comes into production, Stemilt will be sharing Rave™ with media and social media influencers this season. The company will look to build knowledge and excitement of Rave™ through a kick-off event, on its blog, The Stem, and via its social channels with #RaveApples.
Once it hits produce shelves, Rave™ will be another chapter in Stemilt’s story of bringing innovative products to market. The company successfully introduced its signature apple Piñata!® to the marketplace back in 2009, introduced Skylar Rae® brand cherries in 2016, and also supplies the West Coast with the popular SweeTango® apple.
“The apple category is changing quickly with so many options available to consumers today. That means that each new apple must have attributes that will make it stand out. Rave™ is an apple with star power, and we are excited to start sharing it this season,” said Shales.
Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits.