Posts Tagged “Honeycrisp”

Stemilt is Set to Introduce the Apple You’ll Rave About

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By Stemilt Growers

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.


About Stemilt

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.

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Honeybear’s Largest Chilean Honeycrisp Crop Returns

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HoneycrispBy Honeybear Marketing

Elgin, Minnesota – A record shipment of Chilean Honeycrisp from Honeybear Brands’ southern hemisphere orchards arrives at major retail stores across the country this week.  The 2017 Chilean Honeycrisp is the largest in Honeybear’s 10-year program and brings just picked freshness, color and taste domestic Honeycrisp inventory, harvested last fall, is in low supply and flavor waning from months of cold storage.

The volume increase in Chilean Honeycrisp is due in part to several factors: the natural maturation of Honeybear’s Chilean orchards, excellent growing conditions and the company working with exceptional local growing partners who understand the many nuances of growing and optimizing premium apple production in their local micro climates.

Leading retailers featuring the Honeybear Chilean Honeycrisp include Hy-Vee, Publix, Loblaws, United Supermarkets, Cub Foods, SuperValu, Central Market, Coborns and Sam’s Club in more than 100 markets across the country.

Honeybear Brands and parent Wescott Agri Products were granted exclusive production and commercialization rights for the Chilean Honeycrisp by the University of Minnesota, developer and owner of the original variety. The company was one of the first to grow Honeycrisp in Washington state and Chile, and is widely recognized as the premier Honeycrisp label in the United States.
For more information visit or contact Honeybear at 952-746-1315

About the Honeycrisp Variety

The Honeycrisp variety was first designated in 1960, patented in 1988 and made available to customers in 1991.  In recent years, thanks to its unique blend of crunch, crisp flesh and a mixed sweet/tart flavor profile, the Honeycrisp variety has become an in-demand favorite of consumers, cooks, apple-lovers.  A challenging variety to grow, Honeycrisp requires the right microclimate to maximize production, yield quality and flavor.

About Honeybear Brands

Honeybear Marketing is the marketing arm for, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wescott Agri Products. Honeybear is a leading grower and developer of premium apple varieties. The company started as Wescott Agri Products, a family run apple orchard in the early 1970s.  From that early start several generations ago, today Honeybear still employs the same hands-on, personal attention to each and every apple variety produced through the Honeybear Apple Varietal Development Program. Honeybear is the leading provider of Honeycrisp apples in the Northwest region and offers complete domestic and global supply integration from varietal development to growing, packing, shipping and retailer support.

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Stemilt’s Newest Apple Gets A Brand Name

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appleraveby Stemilt Growers

WENATCHEE, Wash. – 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. Rave™ was selected as the brand name for this apple to play off of the apple’s many exciting 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 back in 1997 at the University of Minnesota’s exceptional apple breeding program, the same place that the now national phenomenon Honeycrisp heralds from. 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 believes 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 that the variety was of high enough quality to be commercially released. This process included 5-6 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™ is also 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, 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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Cosmic Crisp Apple is Causing Quite a Stir

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cosmiccrispThe parade of new apple names already in the nation’s supermarkets is indeed a long one. Now there is Cosmic Crisp.  It will be joining Envy, Ambrosia, SnapDragon, SweeTango, Kiku, Smitten, RubyFrost, Kanzi and Junami brands, which doesn’t cover them all.
In fact, they are being joined by about 80 newer apples arriving from world production areas this year alone.
Looking ahead, say, three or four years, from Washington state there will be the supermarket arrival of Cosmic Crisp.
This apple with the out-of-this world name is generating huge notice in the Washington apple industry, and commercial planting won’t even start until next year.
That’s right — even though its first trees are yet to be planted, Cosmic Crisp has received tons of industry discussion and media coverage.  And this is exposure even outside of traditional agricultural outlets, extending to urban broadcasts.
Yes, the reasons are multiple, which illustrates that Comic Crisp isn’t just another new apple.  Hopes are it may be the next Honeycrisp in popularity, but it also represents a completely new and innovative apple introduction system.
First there’s the apple itself.  A cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise, it was developed by Washington State University tree fruit research going back nearly 20 years.
The first Cosmic Crisp won’t be available to consumers until 2020, most likely, and will be sharing the same harvest window as red delicious.
With the widespread attention going to this apple, along with red delicious being one showing its age against certain other newer apples on the market (Can you say “Honeycrisp?”), the buzz surrounding Cosmic Crisp will likely become even more pronounced as its baby trees become more adult.

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New Projects for SweeTango Apples are Released

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NextBigLake City, Minn. – Members of the Next Big Thing Growers’ Cooperative recently released their estimates for the 2016 crop of SweeTango, the sweet, tangy, and remarkably crunchy apple that was developed by the University of Minnesota to feature the best characteristics of the Honeycrisp and Zestar! apple varieties.

The projected crop yield is 450,000 standard 40-lb boxes, which is an 18% increase over last year’s crop of 380,000, and 9% larger than the 2014 harvest of 413,000 boxes.

Preliminary projections estimated a yield of 465,000 boxes for 2016, however severe storms on July 8 in Suttons Bay in northern Michigan produced hail up to 2” in diameter that caused extensive damage to the crop in that region, thereby reducing the overall estimate.  Other growing regions across the U.S. and Canada have not been adversely affected by weather to date.

The timing of the harvest varies by growing region, as orchards are spread across differing climates in locations like Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, and Nova Scotia, Canada.  Washington will begin harvest first in early August, which means SweeTango will start appearing in the market around Labor Day.

As the SweeTango apple crop has continued to grow over the past decade, so does the length of the season. Once a hyper-seasonal fruit due to limited yields from a relatively small number of young orchards, SweeTango’s season is now expected to extend from early September to late December.  This is great news for SweeTango’s enthusiastic and loyal consumer following.

Theron Kibbe, executive director of Next Big Thing Growers’ Cooperative noted, “We are looking forward to a good size SweeTango crop of excellent quality, with sizes that retailers are successful with. We have a robust marketing program in place that will drive shoppers to stores with SweeTango apples on their lists. We also will be partnering with retailers with in-store activities designed to increase trial and introduce new shoppers to SweeTango’s tangy-sweet flavor and exceptional crunch.”


Headquartered in Lake City, Minn., Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative is a 45-member cooperative of family growers, spread over five time zones from Nova Scotia to Washington State, that grows and markets managed varieties of apples, beginning with SweeTango. You can find more information on SweeTango at or on Facebook at

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Ambrosia & Honeycrisp Lead Top 10 Sales Dollars

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Ambrosiaby Columbia Marketing International

Demand is hot for Ambrosia™ apples this summer, as they continue to be one of the brightest items in supermarket produce departments. Recently released scan data from Nielsen Perishables Group revealed that for the most recent four week period through June 27, Ambrosia™ and Honeycrisp were the only two apples in the top 10 varieties that generated an increase in sales dollars. All other top 10 varieties declined.

According to Robb Myers, Vice President of Sales for CMI, the data shows that consumers continue to look for highly flavored apples like Ambrosia™. “It’s pretty impressive when you consider that in the top 10 selling apple varieties nationally, only Ambrosia™ and Honeycrisp generated dollar increases. Ambrosia™ and Honeycrisp–that’s pretty good company.”

Myers said a big part of the sales increase is a result of a longer Ambrosia™ domestic season for CMI as well as a strong import season for Chilean grown Ambrosia™ He added, “Our goal was to align sales of our stronger late-storage Ambrosia™ with imported products to ensure continuity of supply right through the new crop out of Washington in early September.”

There is still room for incremental Ambrosia™ growth according to Steve Lutz, Vice President of Marketing for CMI. “The Nielsen data shows that during the most recent four weeks, only about 50% of supermarkets carried Ambrosia™,” said Lutz.

“It’s quite remarkable that only half the retailers in the country are carrying one of the hottest selling apples in the category. In a year where cherry sales are down, generating incremental apple category dollars with Ambrosia is an easy win.”

Lutz says that supplies are excellent and CMI will be running Ambrosia™ promotions with retailers through the month of August rolling into new crop at the beginning of September.

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