After two decades, it’s finally time to get acquainted with the apple you’ll rave about. The Rave™ apple is the brand name for a brand-new apple variety, called MN55, which Stemilt will help debut this month in select produce departments! Only the highest quality MN55 apples get to be called Rave™ at your stores. It’s part Honeycrisp and part MonArk, a varietal from Arkansas, and with a harvest date earlier than any other apple in Washington State, Rave™ will be your new signal apple season has arrived.
So, what’s so special about the Rave™ apple? There’s so much to tell you! Because of its MonArk parentage, Rave™ likes the summer heat and matures up to two weeks earlier than other apples. This is great news for those of us that love apples! It has a beautiful bright red-over-yellow color and that infamous Honeycrisp bite we all know and love. Rave™ is also outrageously juicy with a refreshing snappy zing. Sounds like the perfect late summer apple, right?
The story of how Rave™ came to be is pretty neat too. It was developed through a traditional breeding method of crossing pollen of the flowers of two apple varietals (Honeycrisp and MonArk). This happens in nature and it takes several years following the cross before a new apple is born. Researchers make thousands of crosses every year – and as you might guess – most apples are discarded on the journey to find the few (like Rave™) that have the ‘wow’ factor to stand out in the apple crowd.
Rave™ is the third success story from researcher David Bedford of University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program. Most apple breeders are lucky if they see one of their “babies” released commercially during their career, and David now has three, including the amazing Honeycrisp and rising star, SweeTango®. With relatives like that, it’s no wonder why we are excited to be the first grower to bring Rave™ to you!
I’ll admit Rave™ won’t be the easiest apple to find this August and September, as the number of apples we’ll harvest and pack will be limited. The good news is our founding family, the Mathisons, love this fruit and will be growing more in the future. Give us a year or two and we’ll have plenty of Rave™ apples to share!
For those of you lucky enough to find a Rave™ apple this year, my advice to you is to enjoy it as a fresh snack on its own. This apple is so juicy and refreshing (and its juiciness is why we don’t recommend baking/cooking with it)! You could also try Rave™ as a crisp bite on a green salad or paired with your cheese of choice (I can see the charcuterie boards already!).
If you taste a Rave™ apple, please tell us what you think in the comments section or on social media via #RaveApples. We can’t wait to delight you with this delicious new apple!