Remarkably firm, sweet, tangy, crisp, and unbelievably juicy. These are words that describe Cosmic Crisp, the latest creation of WSU’s world-class tree fruit breeding program. The apple has a rich red-purple color over a green-yellow background and is speckled with lenticels, little spots that look like starbursts. It is these attributes that helped determine the name for the apple.
After more than 16 years in the making, this eye-catching, beauty is ready for launch into the marketplace. With its winning combination of taste, texture, and beauty, this premium apple will be a boon to Washington apple growers, WSU’s breeding program, and apple lovers everywhere.
Cosmic Crisp is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp. The large, juicy apple has a remarkably firm and crisp texture. Its exceptional flavor profile provides ample sweetness and tartness, making it an excellent eating apple. In addition to being delicious, it is slow to brown when cut and maintains its texture and flavor in storage for more than a year.
Developing a winning strategy
In the past, a public university would simply announce a new variety as available to growers and then hope for the best. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, the introduction of a new apple requires a marketing plan with experts and advocates helping it win a position alongside existing varieties on grocers’ shelves and ultimately in shoppers’ grocery carts. This is why WSU is proactively managing the release and introduction of this variety. It is just as important that our varieties be successful as it is for us to complete any other aspect of our research.
Preparing for its debut
One of the many challenges of breeding a successful apple is creating enough trees to meet industry demand. Based on propagation estimates, WSU has scheduled the release date for trees to growers of Cosmic Crisp in 2017. Working with a number of NNII-affiliated nurseries, and others to increase WA 38 planting stock, WSU recognizes that there will not be enough trees to meet the demand. Therefore, to help ensure a fair distribution of initial inventories among Washington growers, the university is conducting a drawing for trees to be distributed in 2017. The drawing has two-tiers: one for larger growers offering 15,000–20,000 trees; and one for smaller growers based on a 5,000-tree minimum. The drawing closes on May 31. Visit WA38.wsu.edu to submit an application.
The first to grow WA 38
WSU’s commitment to this apple is driven by a long-range focus on the people we serve. As part of our goal to be good stewards of the resources we’ve been entrusted with, and to improve Washington’s agricultural productivity, sales of Cosmic Crisp trees will be limited to Washington State growers for a period of 10 years.