Stemilt Set to Harvest First Commercial Crop of Rave™ Apples
- by Eva Roethler
WENATCHEE, WA – Stemilt Growers is always striving to be the talk of the town with it’s innovative produce programs, and a recent addition to its lineup has consumers raving, literally. As the grower and marketer with the rights to the University of Minnesota’s newest apple brand, Rave™, Stemilt Growers is set to harvest its first commercial crop and introduce this special early season apple to consumers in select regions come late August.
“Rave is the fun, social apple with a flavor that you’ll love so much, you’ll have to tell someone about it,” said Brianna Shales, Communications Manager, according to a press release. “Although volumes are limited in this launch season, we are excited to get these into shoppers’ hands and hear what they think.”
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.
After the University of Minnesota chose Rave as the brand name for the apple last fall, 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.
“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 Shales.
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.
“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.
With volumes 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.
As companies continue to move and shake in the produce industry, AndNowUKnow will report.