A Guide to the Delicious and Unique First Kiss Apple in Minnesota

Are you a fan of trying new and exciting apple varieties? Look no further than the First Kiss apple, a creation unique to the state of Minnesota. This apple is a hybrid of the popular Honeycrisp and the Zestar apple varieties, resulting in a crisp, juicy, and sweet taste that is sure to delight anyone’s taste buds.

First introduced in 2018, the First Kiss apple has quickly gained popularity in the state, particularly at the Minnesota State Fair, where it is a must-try food item. But where can you find these apples outside of the fairgrounds, and what makes them so special?

In this blog post, we will dive into all things First Kiss apple. From their origins to where to buy them and everything in between, we will cover it all. We’ll even tackle some common questions, such as whether the First Kiss is the same as the Rave apple and the shelf life of this delectable fruit.

So come along and discover why the First Kiss apple is a must-try for any apple lover in Minnesota.

Exploring the Story behind the First Kiss Apple of Minnesota

When it comes to apples, Minnesota has a story to tell. The state is the proud birthplace of the widely-loved “First Kiss” apple. The name brings to mind fond memories of first kisses, and this fruity wonder is no exception. Here is everything you need to know about the First Kiss apple from Minnesota:

A Brief History of the First Kiss Apple

  • The First Kiss apple came to be when the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding team members, Dave Bedford and Jim Luby, crossed the Honeycrisp and the MonArk varieties in 1991.
  • With over two decades dedicated to development, they released their creation, the First Kiss apple, in 2018.
  • Initially, the cultivar was named “MN55,” but the name was later changed to “First Kiss” through a naming contest.

Characteristics of the First Kiss Apple

    first kiss apple minnesota

  • This apple has a bright and rosy skin that blurs yellow and green undertones.
  • The size is large, and the sweet-tart taste is incredibly refreshing.
  • It has a juicy crunch that leaves you lusting for more.
  • The tree grows well in cold climates like Minnesota and can produce high-quality apples reliably.

Baking with the First Kiss Apple

  • Thanks to its firm texture, the First Kiss apple is perfect for baking.
  • It works well in pies, crisps, and cobblers providing an excellent balance of sweetness and tartness.
  • You can also make a delicious homemade applesauce, either sweetened or unsweetened, to add on top of meats or mix into refreshing smoothies.

Why You Need to Try the First Kiss Apple

  • The First Kiss apple won the hearts of many in 2020 when growers reported bumper harvests despite the pandemic.
  • By purchasing this apple, you are not just supporting local farmers but also doing your taste buds a favor.
  • Whenever you get a chance to visit Minnesota, grab a few of the locally made “First Kiss” apple pies and a bottle of warm apple cider from the farmers’ market for a sweet treat.

The First Kiss apple is, without a doubt, one of the most beloved varieties of apples in Minnesota. Its juicy and firm texture coupled with a sweet-tart flavor makes it a perfect choice for snacking, cooking, and baking. If ever you’re around Minnesota, beg, borrow, or steal a taste of this local favorite and experience pure bliss!

Kiss Apples: A Delicious and Juicy Treat

Have you ever heard of Kiss apples? If not, then you’re missing out on one of the sweetest and juiciest treats around! These apples are not only delicious, but they’re also packed with nutrients and health benefits that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into what Kiss apples are, their taste, texture, and how to enjoy them.

What are Kiss Apples

Kiss apples are a type of apple that originated in Minnesota in 2007. They’re a cross between the Honeycrisp and Zestar apples, which results in a juicy, sweet, and crunchy apple. They got their name from their beautiful, bright red color and crisp texture, which makes them irresistible.

Taste and Texture

Kiss apples are known for their sweet taste and juicy texture. They have a firm and crisp texture, making them perfect for eating raw, as a snack or in salads. The sweetness of the apple has hints of honey and a slight tartness that balances it. The flavor of the Kiss Apple is incredibly aromatic, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, making them perfect for baking.

Health Benefits

Not only are Kiss apples delicious, but they’re also loaded with health benefits. Here are some benefits of Kiss apples that you might not know:

  • Kiss apples are low in calories, making them a great snack for people who are trying to watch their weight.
  • first kiss apple minnesota

  • They are rich in fiber, which helps improve digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer.
  • Kiss apples are high in antioxidants, which help fight off diseases and protect your cells from damage.
  • They’re a great source of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and keeps your skin healthy.
  • They’re also rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy.

How to Enjoy Kiss Apples

There are various ways you can enjoy Kiss apples. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Eat them raw: Kiss apples are perfect for eating raw, wash it and enjoy it right away! They make a great snack, especially when you’re on the go.
  • Add them to salads: Their sweet taste and crisp texture make them perfect for adding to salads. They’ll add a burst of flavor and crunchiness to your dish.
  • Bake them: Kiss apples are ideal for baking, as they hold their shape and flavor well. You can make anything from pies, cakes, and tarts.
  • Pair them with cheese: The sweetness of a Kiss apple pairs well with a salty cheese, making it an ideal snack or appetizer.

Kiss apples are an incredible treat that you don’t want to miss out on. They’re sweet, juicy, packed with nutrients, and versatile. With so many ways to enjoy them, there is something for everyone. Whether you eat them raw, bake them, or add them to salads or cheese, you’ll love the explosion of flavor they bring to your taste buds. So what are you waiting for? Go grab a Kiss apple and enjoy!

MN in 1980: A Golden Age for Apple Lovers

In Minnesota, the year 1980 was a turning point for apple enthusiasts. This was the year when the apple industry in the state started to boom, quite literally, with orchards spreading across the countryside. Here are some interesting tidbits about MN in 1980 that will surely make apple lovers nostalgic:

The Rise of the Honeycrisp Apple

  • The famous Honeycrisp apple was developed in the late 1960s at the University of Minnesota. However, it was not until the early 1980s that it gained popularity among apple lovers.
  • With its unique crispy texture, juicy interior, and unforgettable taste, the Honeycrisp became an instant hit and still dominates the apple market today.
  • In 1980, the Honeycrisp was just starting to make its way into the world, but no one could have predicted how popular it would become.

The Apple Capital of the United States

  • In the early 1980s, the apple industry was at its peak, and Minnesota was a major player. At the time, Minnesota was the fifth-largest apple-producing state in the country, with more than 230 family-owned orchards in the state.
  • Many of these orchards were located in the southern and eastern parts of the state, where the climate and soil were perfect for growing apples.
  • The state even had a dedicated Apple Growers Association, which worked to promote the quality and variety of Minnesota-grown apples.

The Great Minnesota Apple Festival

  • Starting in the late 1970s, the Great Minnesota Apple Festival became an annual tradition in the state, attracting thousands of apple lovers from all over the country.
  • The festival featured all kinds of apple-related activities, including cider pressing, apple picking, and apple pie baking contests.
  • It was also a great opportunity for orchard owners to showcase their best apples and introduce new varieties to the public.

The Role of Apples in Minnesota Culture

  • Apples have always held a special place in Minnesota culture. They symbolize hard work, perseverance, and the bountiful harvest season.
  • In fact, the state even has an official apple, the “SweeTango,” which was developed at the University of Minnesota and was designated the official apple of Minnesota in 2006.
  • Today, Minnesota may not be the largest producer of apples in the country, but its legacy as a major apple-growing state lives on.

In conclusion, Minnesota in 1980 was a golden age for apple lovers, with a thriving apple industry, new apple varieties, and a deep connection to the state’s culture. Whether you’re a long-time Minnesotan or just passing through, take a moment to appreciate the humble apple and all it represents.

Where to Buy First Kiss Apples

If you’ve been reading up on First Kiss apples and are excited to try them out, you’re probably wondering where you can buy them. Here are a few options for where to purchase these delicious apples:

Local Farms and Farmers’ Markets

One of the best ways to get your hands on First Kiss apples is to support your local farmers and buy them straight from the source. Many local farms and farmers’ markets carry First Kiss apples when they’re in season.

Grocery Stores

While First Kiss apples may not be as widely available as some of the more popular varieties, you can still find them at some grocery stores. Look for them in the produce section or ask your grocery store if they’ll be carrying them.

Online Retailers

If you can’t find First Kiss apples locally, you can always turn to online retailers. Many online retailers specialize in delivering fresh produce straight to your door, making it easy for you to try out new varieties like First Kiss.

Direct from the Orchard

If you’re lucky enough to live near an orchard that grows First Kiss apples, you may be able to buy them directly from the source. Many orchards have farm stores or offer pick-your-own options, so check with your local orchard to see if they carry First Kiss apples.

No matter where you choose to buy your First Kiss apples, be sure to enjoy them as soon as you can. With their sweet and tangy flavor and crisp texture, they’re sure to become a new favorite.

New Apple Varieties in Minnesota

Minnesota is well known for its apple production, and for good reason. The state is home to some of the most delicious apples you can find anywhere, and they are continually developing new varieties that are just as tasty and mouth-watering. Here are some of the latest apple varieties from Minnesota:


Honeycrisp is a relatively new apple variety that was first introduced in Minnesota in the early 1990s. It quickly became a favorite among apple lovers for its sweet, juicy flavor and crisp texture. This variety is perfect for eating raw or using in a variety of recipes, including salads and desserts.


SweeTango is another popular apple variety that was developed in Minnesota. It has a sweet, tangy flavor that is perfect for eating raw or cooking in a variety of dishes. This apple is also known for its crisp texture, which makes it a favorite among apple enthusiasts.


Zestar! is a newer apple variety that is gaining popularity among apple lovers. It has a sweet, slightly tart flavor and a crisp texture that makes it perfect for snacking. This apple is also great for baking, especially in pies and tarts.

First Kiss

First Kiss is a new apple variety that was recently introduced in Minnesota. This apple has a sweet, tangy flavor and a crisp, juicy texture that makes it perfect for eating raw or using in a variety of recipes. It is also resistant to many common apple diseases, making it a favorite among growers.

Minnesota is home to some of the best apple varieties in the world, and they are continually developing new varieties that are just as delicious. The Honeycrisp, SweeTango, Zestar!, First Kiss, and others mentioned here are just a few of the many examples. Be sure to try them all and see which ones are your favorites!

Best Apple Trees for Minnesota

If you’re thinking of planting apple trees in Minnesota, you need to choose ones that can thrive in the state’s climate. Here are some of the best apple trees for Minnesota:

1. Haralson

Haralson is a favorite among apple growers and lovers in Minnesota. It’s a hardy apple tree that’s resistant to common pests and diseases, making it easy to cultivate. The apple produced by the Haralson tree is crispy, juicy and tart. They’re great for snacks, pies, and cider.

first kiss apple minnesota

2. Honeycrisp

The Honeycrisp is a relatively new apple cultivar that’s quickly become popular in Minnesota. It’s a juicy, crispy, and sweet apple that’s perfect for eating fresh. The apple tree is easy to grow and maintain and is resistant to many common apple ailments.

3. Zestar

If you’re looking for an early-season apple variety that can grow in Minnesota, Zestar may be the right choice for you. This apple tree produces apples that are crispy and sweet with a hint of tartness. They’re excellent for eating fresh, adding to salads, or making pies.

4. SnowSweet

SnowSweet is a relatively new Minnesota developed apple tree that’s thriving in the state. This apple tree has a unique and delicate flavor that’s sweet with a touch of tartness. It’s easy to grow and maintain, and the apple is excellent for eating fresh, baking, or cooking.

5. Chestnut Crabapple

Although not technically an apple, the Chestnut Crabapple is a crabapple tree that produces crabapples with a sweet and nutty flavor. The tree is hardy and can grow in Minnesota’s climate, making it an excellent choice for those looking to add variety to their apple orchard.

Choosing the right apple trees is crucial for a successful apple harvesting season. The listed apple trees are well suited to Minnesota’s climate and offer a variety of sweet, tart and nutty flavors. Growing these apple trees in your backyard is a great way to enjoy freshly picked apples or make delicious apple pies and ciders.

First Kiss Apple Trees For Sale

If you’ve tried the First Kiss apple and are now in love, seeking to plant these delicious fruits in your garden might be the next thing on your to-do list. Luckily for you, we’ve got the details on where and how to find First Kiss apple trees for sale.


The easiest way to find First Kiss apple trees for sale is at a local nursery. Contact a few nearby nurseries, and ask if they carry the First Kiss apple trees. Here are a few nurseries that may stock these trees:

  • Gerten’s Nursery & Garden Center, Inver Grove Heights, MN
  • Axdahl’s Garden Farm & Greenhouse, Stillwater, MN
  • Sargent’s Nursery, Rochester, MN

You can also call the University of Minnesota Extension office at (612) 624-1222 and ask for a list of nurseries that sell the First Kiss apple trees.


If you can’t find a nursery that carries First Kiss apple trees, there are several online sources available. Here are a few online retailers that sell First Kiss apple trees:

  • Stark Bro’s Nurseries & Orchards Co.
  • Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co.
  • Miller Nurseries
  • Raintree Nursery

Buying First Kiss apple trees online is convenient, but it’s essential to look for reputable retailers. Consider retailers that have been in business for several years, have positive customer reviews, offer guarantees and returns, and use reliable shipping methods.


Once you’ve obtained your First Kiss apple trees, the next step is planting.

  • Choose a spot in your yard that gets at least six hours of sun per day.
  • Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball but not deeper.
  • Remove the tree from the container, loosen the roots, and place it in the hole.
  • Backfill the hole with soil.
  • Water the tree thoroughly, and add a layer of mulch around the base of the trunk.
  • For the best yield, you’ll want to plant at least two or three trees; this allows for cross-pollination.

As the trees grow, make sure you provide them with enough water and fertilizer, and prune them to promote healthy growth.

Now that you know where to find First Kiss apple trees for sale and how to plant them, it’s time to get started on your orchard. With the right conditions and care, you’ll soon be enjoying a bountiful harvest of these delicious apples. Happy planting!

Apple Picking in Minnesota

As the weather cools down, there’s nothing quite like heading out to the orchard and picking some fresh apples. Minnesota is known for its bountiful apple harvests, but when is the best time to go apple picking? Here’s what you need to know:

The Best Time to Pick Apples in Minnesota

Minnesota has a relatively short apple-picking season, which typically runs from early September to mid-October. The specific dates may vary depending on the orchard and the type of apples they grow, but here are some general tips to keep in mind:

    first kiss apple minnesota

  • Early season apples like Zestar! and SweeTango are usually ready for picking in late August or early September.
  • Mid-season apples like Honeycrisp and Haralson are ready in mid-September.
  • Late-season apples like Rome and Granny Smith usually aren’t ready until mid- to late October.

Of course, weather can also play a role in when apples are ready for picking. A cooler summer or early frost can delay the harvest, while a warm fall can speed it up. Check with your local orchard for up-to-date information on when different varieties of apples are available.

Tips for Apple Picking in Minnesota

Ready to head out to the orchard? Here are some tips for making the most of your apple-picking experience:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Bring your own bags or containers for collecting apples (some orchards may also provide them).
  • Check with the orchard ahead of time to see if they have any special activities or events going on, like hayrides or cider-making demonstrations.
  • If you’re going with kids, let them help pick the apples and make it a fun experience for the whole family.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the orchard staff for recommendations on which apples to pick and how to use them in recipes.

Apple picking is a beloved Minnesota tradition, and for good reason. There’s something special about plucking a ripe apple right off the tree and enjoying it straight away. By following these tips and doing a little research ahead of time, you can make the most of your apple-picking experience. Happy picking!

Where First Kiss Apples Are Grown

If you’re a fan of apples, you might find yourself wondering where your favorite variety is grown. First Kiss apples are a relatively new type of apple that has gained popularity in recent years due to their sweet and crisp flavor. Here’s everything you need to know about where First Kiss apples are grown.

The Origin of First Kiss Apples

First Kiss apples were developed by the University of Minnesota in the early 2000s as part of their apple breeding program. They were first introduced to the market in 2018 and quickly gained popularity due to their unique characteristics. These apples are a cross between the Honeycrisp and an unreleased variety known as “MN 737” and are known for being extremely sweet with a firm texture.

Where First Kiss Apples are Grown

First Kiss apples are primarily grown in Minnesota, which is where the University of Minnesota is located. However, they have been known to thrive in other areas with similar climates. Here are a few other areas where you might find First Kiss apples:

  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

These areas have climates that are similar to Minnesota and are ideal for growing apples. However, since First Kiss apples are still a relatively new variety, they might be harder to find outside of Minnesota.

Tips on How to Get Your Hands on First Kiss Apples

If you want to try First Kiss apples, the best place to look is your local farmer’s market. Since they are a relatively new variety, they might not be available at your regular grocery store just yet. Here are a few tips on how to find them:

  • Check with your local apple growers to see if they have First Kiss apples available
  • Visit farmer’s markets in areas where First Kiss apples are grown
  • Look for online retailers who specialize in rare or unusual fruits

With a little bit of effort, you should be able to get your hands on some First Kiss apples and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

First Kiss apples are a unique and delicious variety that has quickly gained popularity with apple lovers around the world. While they are primarily grown in Minnesota, you might be able to find them in other areas with similar climates. If you get the chance to try them, be sure to savor every bite of their sweet and crunchy goodness.

“My First Kiss with the Juicy First Kiss Apple in Minnesota”

As a Minnesotan, I have never been prouder of our state’s contribution to the world of apples than when I took my first bite into a juicy, sweet, and tangy First Kiss apple. It was love at first bite! In this blog post, I am going to share everything you need to know about the First Kiss apple, including its origins, characteristics, taste, and where you can get the best ones in Minnesota.

First Kiss Apple Minnesota State Fair

One of the most exciting places to experience the magic of the First Kiss apple is at the Minnesota State Fair. Here are some fantastic things to know about how the First Kiss apple steals the show at the Fair:

1. The First Kiss Apple is the Official Apple of the Minnesota State Fair

Did you know that the First Kiss apple is the official apple of the Minnesota State Fair? Yes, it is! The Fair even created an award-winning cider called “First Kiss” using 100% First Kiss apples grown in Minnesota.

2. The Minnesota Apple Growers Association Offers Free First Kiss Apples

The Minnesota Apple Growers Association is devoted to spreading the word about our state’s first-rate apple industry, and they offer free First Kiss apples to visitors at their Minnesota State Fair booth. Isn’t that amazing?

3. First Kiss Apple Pie at the Minnesota State Fair

Apple pie is the ultimate comfort food, and the First Kiss apple is the ultimate apple. So, it comes as no surprise that the combination of the two is simply heavenly! The Minnesota State Fair offers one of the most delicious First Kiss apple pies, freshly baked with the ripest, juiciest, and most aromatic First Kiss apples. It’s a must-try, and you’ll fall in love with it at first bite!

4. Try the First Kiss Apple Cider

If you’re more into drinks, the First Kiss apple cider is a must-try. Minnesota State Fair serves the award-winning “First Kiss” cider, which is made from the juiciest, sweetest, and tangiest First Kiss apples grown in Minnesota. It’s refreshing, crisp, and absolutely delicious.

5. Meet the Apple Growers

The Minnesota apple growers are the ones responsible for bringing the delicious First Kiss apple to our plates, and what’s better to do than meet them in person and learn all about how they cultivate these amazing fruits? Meet them at the Minnesota State Fair and ask all your apple questions, they’ll gladly answer.

The Minnesota State Fair offers the perfect opportunity to taste the best First Kiss apple products, meet our beloved state’s apple growers, and have the time of your life!

Key takeaways

The First Kiss apple is a state treasure of Minnesota, and it steals the show at the Minnesota State Fair every year. Here are the key takeaways to remember:

  • The First Kiss apple is the official apple of the Minnesota State Fair.
  • The Minnesota Apple Growers Association offers free First Kiss apples at the Minnesota State Fair.
  • First Kiss apple pie at the Minnesota State Fair is a must-try.
  • The award-winning First Kiss apple cider is refreshing and delicious.
  • Meet the apple growers at the Minnesota State Fair and learn everything you need to know about the First Kiss apple.

In conclusion, the Minnesota State Fair is the perfect place to experience the magic of the First Kiss apple. It’s a tasty, juicy, and tangy apple that is exclusive to Minnesota, and it is worth trying in every possible way. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give it a try and experience the joy with everyone else, cheers to the First Kiss apple!

Are First Kiss and Rave the Same Apple

First Kiss and Rave are two different varieties of apples that share a lot of similarities. Here are some key points to consider when comparing the two:


  • Both First Kiss and Rave are medium-sized apples that have a round shape with a slightly flattened base.
  • They have a bright red color with yellow undertones.
  • Both varieties have a shiny and smooth skin.

Taste and Texture

  • First Kiss is known for its sweet, slightly tart flavor with a juicy and crisp texture.
  • Rave, on the other hand, is sweeter than First Kiss with a mild tartness, and has a firm and crunchy texture.
  • Both apples have a good balance between sugar and acidity, making them suitable for various dishes and snacks.

Origin and Cultivation

  • First Kiss was first cultivated in 2018 by the University of Minnesota as a crossbreed between Honeycrisp and a variety of numbered seedling.
  • Rave, on the other hand, is a relatively new apple variety that was also developed by the University of Minnesota.
  • Both apples are grown mainly in Minnesota but are now cultivated in other states’ apple orchards.


  • First Kiss is usually available in late summer, while Rave becomes available in late September.
  • First Kiss has a shorter shelf life than Rave, so it’s more commonly found in farmers’ markets and local grocery stores.
  • Rave has gained popularity in recent years and can now be found in several grocery store chains.

In conclusion, First Kiss and Rave are two distinct apple varieties that are similar in many ways. While they may share some characteristics, they differ in taste, texture, origin, and availability. So, the next time you’re choosing between the two apple varieties, keep these differences in mind.

The Shelf Life of the First Kiss Apple

The First Kiss apple is a relatively new variety that was developed at the University of Minnesota. It is known for its crisp, juicy texture and sweet, tangy flavor. But what about its shelf life? Here are some important factors to consider when storing your First Kiss apples:

1. Harvest Date

The shelf life of any apple depends greatly on the time it was harvested. First Kiss apples are usually harvested in late summer or early fall, and their shelf life can vary depending on how soon they were picked. If the apples were harvested later in the season, they may not last as long as those harvested earlier.

2. Storage Conditions

Another important factor is how the apples are stored. First Kiss apples should be kept in a cool, dry place, ideally at a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They should also be stored in a location that has good air circulation to prevent moisture buildup.

3. Packaging

The packaging also plays an important role in the shelf life of the First Kiss apple. Apples that are left in open air tend to lose their freshness and crispness rather quickly. Therefore, it is recommended that the apples are stored in airtight containers, plastic bags, or sealed containers that allow for ventilation.

4. Time in Storage

Even if the First Kiss apples are stored correctly, they will naturally degrade in quality over time. Generally, the lifespan of First Kiss apples is around 3-months post-harvest.

5. Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to help maximize the shelf life of your First Kiss apples:

  • Handle them gently to avoid bruising or damage
  • Avoid stacking them too high as this can cause damage as well
  • Inspect them often and remove any rotten or damaged apples to prevent spoilage
  • Store them away from other fruits and vegetables that release ethylene gas, which can cause the apples to deteriorate quickly.

In conclusion, when stored correctly, First Kiss apples can last for up to three months post-harvest. By following the tips mentioned above, you can ensure that your apples stay fresh, crisp, and delicious. Always remember to inspect them regularly to avoid any spoilage.

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