First Kiss/Rave Apple in a tree. First Kiss®and Rave®

"First Kiss of Autumn"

Rave® and First Kiss® are the exclusive brands for a premium quality apple fruit. Both Rave® and First Kiss® apples are produced from the newly released MN55 apple cultivar developed by the University of Minnesota. 

This new 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.

To maintain the high-quality fruit standards that can be affected by climate, grower sites, and production practices, First Kiss® and Rave® were introduced as licensed apple brands. Commercial growers in Minnesota must be licensed through the University of Minnesota’s Office of Technology Commercialization to grow and sell First Kiss® apples. Growers outside of Minnesota must be licensed through Stemilt Growers in Washington. If you are interested in growing First Kiss® / Rave® brand apples, please review additional information on our First Kiss® / Rave® licensing page and at the Rave® webpage.


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. 

Managed Availability

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.

Trees will not be available for planting by home gardeners until the patent expires in 2034.


Flavor: Lightly tart and aromatic
Texture: Very crisp, usually 14-19 lbs firmness at harvest
Features: Early season variety with excellent storage life that delivers on flavor and texture
Region: Zone 4a hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map. Appears comparable to Honeycrisp. Grows best in northern U.S., Canada, and areas with a relatively cooler climate
Growth Habit: Spreading to upright
Vigor: More vigorous than  ‘Minneiska’ or ‘Honeycrisp’
Productivity: Good annual production but may be subject to biennial bearing if not managed properly
Bloom: Midseason
Ripening Season: Mid August – Early September; 1-2 weeks earlier than ‘Minneiska’ and up to 4 weeks before ‘Honeycrisp’
Fruit Shape: Round to somewhat conical
Fruit Size: 2.75 -3.0 inches (6.9-7.7 cm)
Color: 85-100% scarlet red, yellow background
Fruit Adherence: Proper management needed to avoid fruit drop
Scab Response: Average susceptibility
Fire Blight Response: Not observed but possible susceptibility
Storage Life: Up to five months in common storage (34-37°F)
Culinary Use:

Excellent for fresh eating, snack trays, and salads.

Rave® / First Kiss® (MN55 cultivar) are registered trademarks of the University of Minnesota.