Cosmic Crisp

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Cosmic Crisp
Several red Cosmic Crisp apples on a branch, among green leaves.
SpeciesMalus domestica
Hybrid parentageHoneycrisp × Enterprise
CultivarCosmic Crisp
WA 38
OriginUnited States Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center
Wenatchee, Washington, United States

Cosmic Crisp is an American apple with the variety designation WA 38.[1] Breeding began in 1997 at the Washington State University (WSU) Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, Washington, initially overseen by Bruce Barritt and now by Kate Evans.[2]

The charactaristics of Cosmic Crisp[edit]

Cosmic Crisp combines the features of the existing Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples, namely, it is intended to have the texture and juiciness of the Honeycrisp, and the late-ripening behavior and long storage of the Enterprise. In breeding the variety, the focus was not on the appearance, but on durability and shelf life. Cosmic Crisp is characterized mainly by uniformly colored dark red skin, dense firm flesh, and an improved shelf life.[3] The look of the apple's light lenticels against its wine-red skin reminded focus groups of a galaxy against a night sky, which led to it being named the Cosmic Crisp.[1] It is the first widely-grown apple variety developed in Washington.[4]

The apple ripens at the same time as Red Delicious and is expected by the producers of it to replace a large part of the Red Delicious stocks. Cosmic Crisp will be available to consumers in 2019,[5] after 20 years of development.[6][7] Industry watchers expect Cosmic Crisp production to outpace Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples in five years.

The first plantings of Cosmic Crisp[edit]

The variety was first planted for commercial use in spring 2017, with 12 million trees pre-ordered by Washington state orchards.[8] The variety is initially only available to Washington-based growers, and will remain limited to them for at least ten years. Growers pay a royalty for each tree purchased and for each box of apples sold. Interest was so high the seedlings initially had to be distributed to apple farmers in a lottery held in 2014—WSU had planned to provide 300,000 saplings but were met with requests for 4 million.[9][4] Within three years, over 13 million Cosmic Crisp trees had been planted. Lawsuits emerged between WSU and a Seattle spinoff that the university claimed distributed over 100,000 seedlings improperly.[10][11] WSU owns the Cosmic Crisp patent.

Promotion of the Cosmic Crisp[edit]

The New York Times described the apple as "dramatically dark, richly flavored and explosively crisp and juicy", making it "the most promising and important apple of the future".[12] Food Republic called it "firmer than the Honeycrisp, but not too firm. And it is high in both sugar and acidity, making it far superior to the Red Delicious, Gala and Fuji varieties as well."[13] Northwest Public Radio notes that Washington state, which produces 70% of America's apples, is betting that the apple will "conquer" the market when it reaches supermarket shelves in 2019.[14]

A $10 million consumer launch of the product is funded by Washington State agriculture promotion funds through the Washington Apple Commission and other agencies.[4] The two taglines for the apple will be "Imagine the Possibilities" and "The Apple of Big Dreams".[1] It is said to be the largest campaign in apple industry history,[15] and will include payments to social media influencers and a partnership with a touring children's production of Johnny Appleseed.[16] The term "Cosmic Crisp" is trademarked.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Jarvis, Brooke (July 18, 2019). "The Launch". The California Sunday Magazine. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Horticulturalist, fruit breeder Kate Evans to lead WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center | WSU Insider | Washington State University". WSU Insider. Washington State University. 18 July 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  3. ^ Ferolito, Phil (19 May 2016). "Cosmic Crisp getting an out-of-this-world reception from apple growers, breeders". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Baker, M. Sharon (November 24, 2017), "The Next Big Apple Variety Was Bred for Deliciousness in Washington", Seattle Business
  5. ^ "The Facts". Cosmic Crisp. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Out of this world: New breed of apple called 'Cosmic Crisp' to debut, after being developed in a lab over 20 years". The Associated Press. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016 – via Daily Mail.
  7. ^ Eddy, David (8 October 2014). "Washington State University Names Growers Of New Apple Trees". Growing Produce. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  8. ^ Charles, Dan (May 2, 2017). "Washington Apple Growers Sink Their Teeth Into The New Cosmic Crisp". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  9. ^ Wheat, Dan (December 3, 2013). "Yakima firm to help with new apple variety". Capital Press.
  10. ^ 'Cosmic Crisp' conflict: Washington State University sues its own spinoff in dispute over 'apple of the future', Taylor Soper, Geekwire, March 2018
  11. ^ Meyers, Donald W. (April 18, 2018). "Apple controversy: Who can sell Cosmic Crisp trees?". Yakima Herald.
  12. ^ Karp, David (3 November 2015). "Beyond the Honeycrisp Apple". New York Times. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Meet The Cosmic Crisp, The Apple Of The Future". Food Republic. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  14. ^ Bartlett, Max (24 November 2015). "There's A Lot Of Buzz About The Cosmic Crisp... Hitting Shelves In 2019". NWPR. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  15. ^ Bloomberg, Kate Krader (January 2, 2019). "The search for the next Honeycrisp apple". The Gazette. Colorado Springs. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  16. ^ Chris Koger (December 7, 2018), "Cosmic Crisp apples to launch with $10 million campaign", Produce Market Guide

Further reading[edit]

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