Rave® and First Kiss® are the exclusive brands for a premium quality apple fruit. Both Rave® and First Kiss® apples are produced from the MN55 apple cultivar developed by the University of Minnesota. MN55 has exhibited a unique combination of traits including early ripening, excellent color, very crisp and juicy texture in multiple environments.
This variety has great parentage as a cross between the University of Minnesota’s ‘Honeycrisp’ Apple and AA44*, a variety from the University of Arkansas. Rave® and First Kiss® fruit offer a fantastic apple-eating experience earlier in the season than other varieties developed for cooler climates—a crisp texture pairs beautifully with the apple’s lightly tart flavor.
This apple has also demonstrated an unusually long storage life for an early ripening variety. It may require attention to established cultural practices to control biennial bearing and fruit drop in some environments.
- Lightly tart and aromatic - Rave® / First Kiss® brand apples are an extremely crisp early season apple that offer excellent storage life. Flavor-wise, the apple is lightly tart and features a wonderful aromatic quality that encourages you to enjoy every bite. It inherited the crisp texture of 'Honeycrisp' and with the early ripening of AA44* meaning you can enjoy this delicious new apple beginning in mid-to-late August.
- Appealing appearance - This eye-catching scarlet red apple features 85-100 percent red coloration.
- Early ripening treat - Because the MN55 cultivar typically ripens in mid-to-late August, growers, retailers, and consumers can enjoy First Kiss® / Rave® apples at the very beginning of the apple season.
First Kiss® and Rave® are licensed apple brands. An important advantage of a licensed brand is they allow growers to maintain high-quality standards related to optimum growing sites, climate, and production practices. This helps assure the growth of a consistently premium quality First Kiss® / Rave® apples.
In 2014, the MN55 cultivar was officially released by the University and licensed to Stemilt Growers in Washington. Apples grown under this license agreement will be marketed as Rave® brand apples.
Minnesota commercial apple growers were also able to obtain licenses from the University to grow the MN55 cultivar. These apples will be marketed as First Kiss® brand apples. Apply for a growers license to grow First Kiss apples.
Trees will not be available for planting by home gardeners until the patent expires in 2034.
- Honeycrisp x AA44*
- Mid-August – Early-September in Minnesota
- 1-2 weeks earlier than ‘Minneiska’ and up to 4 weeks before ‘Honeycrisp’
- Size: 2.75 – 3.0 inches (71 - 76 mm)
- Skin color: 85-100% scarlet red
- Texture: very firm; usually 14-19 lbs pressure at harvest
- Flavor: Pleasantly tart when picked early, well balanced when picked at full maturity
- Storage life: very good; up to 6 months in common storage without 1-MCP
- Vigor: Medium to high vigor (more vigorous than Minneiska or Honeycrisp)
- Form: Spreading to upright
- Fruit adherence: may exhibit tendency for fruit drop in some environments if not managed properly
- Cropping: good but may be subject to biennial bearing if not managed properly
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 4
- Scab: average susceptibility
- Mildew: some susceptibility in WA
- Fire blight: not observed
* AA44 is an unreleased variety from the University of Arkansas
Rave® / First Kiss® (MN55 cultivar) are registered trademarks of the University of Minnesota.