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FirstFruits Marketing LLC and Broetje Orchards recently unveiled Opal, a new apple variety grown in Washington state.

This new apple variety is recognized for its bright yellow color with hints of orange blush, but its key attributes are its crunchy texture and sweet flavor with Brix of 15-18. These flavor and texture attributes come from its cross between a Golden Delicious and a Topaz apple. Other attributes include a medium-round shape, stem end russeting and resistance to oxidation after slicing.

The marketing campaign for Opal has coined them "a new American jewel" and in taste tests consumers have called this apple "great," "crispy" and "tasty." In fact, in a recent survey of nearly 1000 consumers, 89% of consumers said they liked the taste of Opal and would buy it. Additionally the majority of those consumers ranked Opal crispier than their current apple and preferred Opal's flavor to their current variety.

The Opal apple was discovered in Europe in 1999 and for the past 10 years has been tested in 63 orchards throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. Opal is making its debut appearance in the United States grown exclusively by Ralph Broetje of Broetje Orchards in Washington state.

"We are proud to work with a high-quality grower like Ralph Broetje and bring to market new varietals that will help drive category sales," Andy Tudor, marketing director for Yakima, WA-based FirstFruits Marketing, said in a March 12 press release. "We believe that Opal is on trend with other varietals like Fuji, Gala and Honeycrisp that are showing strong consumer popularity and increasing consumer purchase patterns."

Opal apples are available exclusively through FirstFruits Marketing and will be available until May, or while supplies last.