Bred in Washington State, the apple is called ‘Cosmic Crisp’ because of the bright yellowish dots on its skin, which look like distant stars.
Already, growers have planted 12 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees, while only 450,000 40-pound (18-kilogram) boxes will be available for sale this year. That will jump to more than 2 million boxes in 2020 and more than 21 million by 2026!
“I’ve never seen an apple prettier in the orchard than these things are,” said Aaron Clark of Yakima, whose family owns several orchards in central Washington and has planted 80 acres of Cosmic Crisps.
The new variety keeps for a long time in storage and in the refrigerator, said Kate Evans, who runs the breeding program at Washington State University.
And it’s an exceptionally good “eating apple,” she said. “It’s ultra-crisp, very juicy and has a good balance of sweetness and tartness.”
Cosmic Crisps are a cross between the disease-resistant Enterprise and the popular, crunchy Honeycrisp varieties. The Honeycrisp, nicknamed “Moneycrisp” by some growers, was the latest apple to spark a big buzz in the United States when it was introduced a couple of decades ago. It was developed by the University of Minnesota..
Apples are a $2.5 billion a year business in Washington, which grows about 60% of the nation’s supply, or nearly 140 million boxes. The top varieties are Gala (23, Red Delicious (20%) and Fuji (13%).
With so much success, why was a new apple variety needed?
“A new apple brings excitement,” said Toni Lynn Adams, spokeswoman for the Washington Apple Commission, which markets apples internationally. “A new variety can reinvigorate a market and industry.”
“The goal, in my opinion, is to get more consumers eating apples,” she said. “Ultimately that is the goal of any plant breeder.”
Will YOU be trying this trying the new Cosmic Crisp when it comes out?