Cosmic Crisp® brand apples have been in the development process for the past 15 years.
Seeds were germinated and raised in a greenhouse in 1998 at the Washington State University (WSU) Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee. The seedling was transferred to a collaborating commercial nursery in May 1998 where it grew until Sept. 1999, when it was budded onto M.9 rootstock.
The resulting tree was planted in the Phase 1 seedling evaluation orchard CV12 at WSU’s Columbia View orchard (row 16B, position 75) in Apr. 2001. Fruit from this original budded tree was evaluated in 2002 and 2003. Based on fruit quality, ‘WA 38’ was selected and advanced to Phase 2 evaluation in Oct. 2003. Buds were taken from the seedling tree and propagated onto M.9 rootstock in Sept. 2004.
Five trees were planted at each of three Phase 2 sites in central Washington in Apr. 2006. Additional trees were budded in 2006 onto M.9 rootstocks for larger scale Phase 3 plantings in 2008 at four commercial orchard sites in central Washington. ‘WA 38’ was virus-tested and certified material was budded onto virus-indexed vigorous rootstocks at nurseries for the production of State certified propagation material.
Since 2008, trees have been grown in four locations across Washington and evaluated for horticultural traits and storage behavior by Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission scientists Tom Auvil and Dr. Ines Hanrahan and WSU apple breeder Dr. Kate Evans, with the help of an industry advisory group.