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Rave apples set to make a bigger mark at retail in August

The apple to rave about is ready to make a bigger mark with shoppers nationwide as it enters its second year of commercial production. Rave is the trademark name for the MN55 apple cultivar, an early-to-ripen Honeycrisp cross with a juicy flavor. Stemilt Growers is the North American grower-marketer of Rave and will begin shipping the apple around Aug. 6.Rave-apple-3487

“It’s almost time to build upon the incredibly successful launch year of Rave apples,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. “We have a bigger crop than in 2017, which is expected as more trees continue to come into production now and over the next few years. That means more shoppers than ever before will get to enjoy the crunch, snappy zing, and refreshing flavor that Rave brings to produce departments each August.”

Stemilt expects stunning color and larger sizing on Rave apples this season, which is common as young trees develop and mature. The weather has been near-perfect in eastern Washington throughout the spring and summer season and that will build up sugars and acids and the incredible juiciness that Rave is known for.

“With volumes still not enough to match demand, we anticipate a short but very sweet season for Rave,” said Shales. “It has the flavor and appearance to kick-off the first five weeks of apple season with a bang. This second commercial crop gives us the opportunity to keep introducing people to Rave and build fans for what we know is a great future for this apple.”

The MN55 cultivar apple is a cross between Honeycrisp and an unreleased variety called MonArk. David Bedford, a senior researcher at University of Minnesota’s apple-breeding program, develop the apple two decades ago through natural cross-pollination. Bedford is the same breeder behind the popular Honeycrisp and its successor, SweeTango brand Minneiska cultivar apples.

“It’s unheard of for an apple to fully color and ripen in late July in Washington state, but that’s what the MonArk parentage does for Rave,” said Shales. “Being early isn’t enough to win over consumers and that’s where the Honeycrisp parentage comes in. Shoppers truly raved about Rave last year because of its bite and juicy flavor.”

Retailers carrying Rave can take advantage of Stemilt’s merchandising tools, including high-graphic cartons the apple ships in to build attention grabbing displays. The company also has POS signage and a toolkit with social and digital assets for retailers working to introduce the apple to their shoppers on all their channels.

Stemilt is planning its own word-of-mouth activities to continue introducing Rave to shoppers and build upon its social side, Shales said.

“Rave is the social apple that you have to tell someone about after trying one. We’re supporting the brand and its social side with consumer events, influencer outreach, and geo-targeted activations in the markets carrying Rave to ensure your shoppers know about its availability and short season. It’s going to be fun,” said Shales.