Supermarkets excited about new, bright red Cosmic Crisp (TM) apple

In the fall of 2019, American supermarkets will have a new apple on their shelves, and the new variety will be available for export markets a year after that. The Cosmic Crisp (TM) is an extension of the existing supply, Rebecca Lyons of Washington Apple Commission explains. Colour, flavour, shelf life; these are factors making the apple distinctive, she explains.  

The variety, originally named WA38, was developed by the tree fruit improvement programme of Washington State University..  “The parents of Cosmic Crisp™ are Honeycrisp and Enterprise, which give the large, juicy apple a firm and crisp texture, with the flavor an appetizing mix of sweet-tart.  It also has the characteristic of being naturally slow to brown when cut."

In recent years, many new varieties have been introduced. Why is the Cosmic Crisp (TM) distinctive? She admits that consumers are flooded by the amount of choice between the many available apple varieties. “Most of these new varieties are protected club varieties, which have a limited production by a limited number of growers, and sales are handled by one sales office,” she explains. “Cosmic Crisp(TM)  is a branded apple, but, unlike the proprietary varieties, it is available to any grower in the state of Washington, USA.. That means the variety will also be available from most, if not all, sales organisations in the state.”

Year-round availability

During the development of the variety, various testing orchards were planted. The first commercial orchards were planted in 2017, when 626,000 trees were planted. For this year, 5.2 million Cosmic Crisp trees were ordered, and for 2019, 4.1 million orders have been received. The first commercial harvest is expected in the autumn of 2019. “Volume will be limited in its first year, but we expect to market 5.1 million cartons (40lbs/18kg) by 2021.” It’s expected export will also pick up in 2020, due to the available volume combined with interest shown in the apple by international retailers.

September and October are the harvest months for this apple. Another positive characteristic is the apple’s good shelf life, according to Rebecca. The apples can be kept in storage for one year without losing their flavour or texture. “With this good storage characteristic, imports  ’won’t be needed. Besides, the global planting of Cosmic Crisp will be limited for the first ten years, and growers in Washington State will have the largest commercial volume available world-wide.”

Red eye-catcher

The apple is also being praised by retail. ”There  is a lot of excitement among US retailers for Cosmic Crisp ™”, Rebecca says. “It’s bright red in color, and very eye-catching on display.  It will make a nice change from the many bi-colored varieties currently on offer.”

Right now, people are working hard on the marketing strategy for the apple. Washington State University has appointed Proprietary Variety Management (PVM) to commercialize the apple. In cooperation with an industry advisory committee, packaging, labels and promotion material is now being developed. Rebecca doesn’t rule out a Euro-packaging in addition to the standard box (40 lbs per box). “Because it’s a brand, it’s important individual packers and exporters use a consistent design. It has to be clear to consumers that it’s a Cosmic Crisp (TM).”

Article by Rudolf Mulderj, Fresh Fruit Plaza

Tired Of Your Old Apple? A New Variety Is On The Horizon

Washington state university. The new WSU Apple WA-38 is one consumers can't get their hands on just yet. 

Washington state university. The new WSU Apple WA-38 is one consumers can't get their hands on just yet. 

Northwest apple growers are expecting a bumper crop this year and harvest is already beginning on some farms.

But growers are excited over an apple variety you can’t even get in stores yet.

Washington’s crop this year is going to be the second largest on record – at 4.8-billion pounds. Only last year's crop was larger.

Apple harvest has just begun in Washington State. This year is the second largest crop on record. Washington Apple Commission.

Apple harvest has just begun in Washington State. This year is the second largest crop on record. Washington Apple Commission.

Northwest apple expert Rebecca Lyons attributes that recent growth to newer much-denser plantings. But more and more farmers are turning toward premium, newer varieties to earn profits.

One is called "WA 38". It’s being developed at Washington State University.

“When you bite into WA 38 the first thing that hits you is that it’s very crisp … and extremely juicy. The two go together," says Kate Evans, who heads the research on the deep red fruit. "It also has a lot of sweetness but it also has a good tangy, apple acidity as well.”

WA 38 won’t be planted commercially until 2016. But Evans says giving the new apple the right name may be actually be the harder job.

As for apples you can get this year: galas and golden apples are now coming off trees in warmer parts of Washington.

Article by Anna King, NW News Network