Cosmic Crisp apple, buoyed by incredibly long storage life, hits stores in U.S.

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The first major shipments of Cosmic Crisp, a new apple variety developed at Washington State University’s apple breeding program in the United States made their way to retailers across the U.S. this past Sunday. 

Dec 1 was the official shipment launch for Cosmic Crisp. The date was designed to give the apple plenty of time to establish sugars in the fruit. A small amount of Cosmic Crisp apples have been available for several months at farm stands in Washington state.

The apple is called Cosmic Crisp because of the bright yellowish dots on its skin, which look like distant stars.

"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."

The December ship date has given Proprietary Variety Management more time to garner additional buzz.

“Always when you increase tonnage that quickly, we certainly have a concern about this apple cannibalizing another apple variety in this industry,” he said.

The 2019 statewide Cosmic Crisp crop is expected to reach nearly a half-million 40-pound boxes. It will increase to 2.1 million boxes in 2020 and reach 21.5 million boxes by 2026, which would make it the top-producing variety.

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.

"This apple (Cosmic Crisp) has a good opportunity to be a hit with a lot of people," said Clark, a vice president of Price Cold Storage, a company with orchards and fruit warehouses throughout central Washington. "It better be, because we are going to have a lot of them."

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