Rave/First Kiss Apple.

UMN plant breeders introduce First Kiss Apple

August 7, 2018

First Kiss and Rave Apple. The wait is over. This fall, Minnesotans will be able to get their first taste of the newest apple developed by apple breeding team at the University of Minnesota (UMN).  

First Kiss® apples, produced by Minnesota orchards, will be ready to harvest in mid-to-late August — up to four weeks earlier than its parent Honeycrisp, while still providing apple eaters with the texture and taste for which UMN-bred apples are known.

First Kiss dates back to the late 1990s when UMN’s apple breeders David Bedford and Jim Luby set out to breed an apple with the taste and texture of a ‘Honeycrisp’ that would be ready to harvest by Labor Day weekend. 

To accomplish this, they crossed Honeycrisp, known for its juicy texture, with an early ripening variety from the University of Arkansas known as ‘AA44.’ After years of rigorous trials at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Horticultural Research Center, First Kiss emerged as a clear winner. 

Read the Full First Kiss Press Release.

Learn more about Rave® apples. The brand name for apples grown from MN55 cultivars outside of Minnesota. 


Did you know?

In 1860, Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune claimed, “Never move to Minnesota—you can’t grow apples there!” The University’s current breeding program continues to work to release new cultivars that are not only delicious and cold-hardy but will help Minnesota growers expand their market.