Prescott, Wash.-based FirstFruits of Washington has begun retail shipments of Sweetie, a new red apple variety.

Grown by Broetje Orchards and sold by First Fruits Marketing, the trademarked variety combines traits of gala and braeburn and is being offered as an intensely sweet apple, according to a news release.

Like Opal, another Broetje-grown variety, Sweetie appeared in limited release initially. It went national after favorable responses from consumers of gala and fuji apples, according to the company.

First planted in New Zealand, Sweetie’s initial U.S. orchard was a 30-acre test block in Prescott, Wash. In the last two years, more blocks were planted.

“Launching a new variety is a very complex process,” Andy Tudor, marketing manager at FirstFruits of Washington, said in the release. “The fruit needs to be grower friendly, have a good shelf life and appearance, and have some kind of unique quality to get people to try it. Sweetie has all of those characteristics.”

Braeburn, one of the origins of the new variety, contributed a firm, crisp texture, according to the company.

Sweetie’s price look-up number is 3628. The apple is expected to appear in the new product showcase at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Oct. 26-28. FirstFruits Marketing will be at booth 743.