In this photo taken Tuesday, October 15, 2019, a working binger moves with Cosmic Crisp apples, a new variety and First Ever Breed in Washington, into a cold room in Yakima, Wash. The Cosmic Crisp, available from December 1, is expected to be a game changer in the apple industry. Growers have already planted 12 million apple trees from Cosmic Crisp, a sign of confidence in the new variety. (Photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)
SPOKANE, Wash. – They call it Cosmic Crisp. It's not a video game, a superhero, or the title of a Grateful Dead song.
There is a new variety of apple, coming to a grocery store near you on December 1st.
Cosmic Crisp is the first apple ever grown in Washington state, growing the majority of the United States apples. It is expected to be a game changer.
Already, growers have planted 12 million apple trees from Cosmic Crisp, a sign of confidence in the new variety. Although only 450,000 boxes of 40 pounds will be available for sale this year, they will jump to more than 2 million boxes by 2020 and more than 21 million by 2026.
The apple variant was developed by Washington State University. Washington growers, who paid for the research, will have the exclusive right to sell it for the first 10 years.
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 nicer in the orchard than these things are," said Aaron Clark of Yakima, whose family owns several orchards in downtown Washington and has planted 80 acres of cosmic chips.
The new variety lasts 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 "to eat apple," she said. "It's ultra crispy, very juicy and has a good balance between sweetness and acidity."
Cosmic chips are a cross between the disease-resistant enterprise and the popular, crunchy Honeycrisp varieties. Honeycrisp, which was nicknamed "Moneycrisp" by some growers, was the last apple to make a big buzz in the US when it was introduced a couple of decades ago. It was developed by the University of Minnesota.
"This apple (Cosmic Crisp) has a great opportunity to be a hit with a lot of people," said Clark, vice president of Price Cold Storage, an orchard and fruit storage company throughout downtown Washington. "It's better, because we're going to have many of them."
In this photo taken on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, a worker binger moves with Cosmic Crisp apples, a new variety and the first ever bred in the state of Washington, into a cold room in Yakima, Wash. (Photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)
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& # 39; We try to make money with it & # 39 ;  Apple is a $ 2.5 billion-a-year business in Washington, which grows around 60% of the nation's supply, or nearly 140 million cans. The top varieties are Gala (23, Red Delicious (20%) and Fuji (13%).)
Apples are grown in the dry valleys and brown hillsides in downtown Washington, a few hours east of Seattle, and are watered by irrigation projects.
The state has around 1,500 apple holders and 175,000 acres of orchards, with about 50,000 people picking about 12 billion apples by hand each fall, and the fruit is exported to 60 countries. ] "A new apple brings excitement," said Toni Lynn Adams, spokeswoman for the Washington Apple Commission, which markets apples internationally. "A new variety can bring new life to a market and industry."
Washington producers, who had seen on the market share of sometimes mushy red delicious apples that fell over time, was looking to replicate the success of the honey crisis, Adams said.
"It's going to shake things up in a great way," Adams said. it increases in volu me fast. "
Adams couldn't speculate on how much Cosmic Crisp apples would cost per pound.
"Better quality gives better returns," said Clark, the manufacturer. “This is a for-profit deal, man. We try to make some money from it. "
In this photo taken Tuesday, October 15, 2019, Aaron Clark, Vice President of Price Cold Storage, cuts to a cosmic Sharp apple, a new variety and the first ever bred in Washington state, after pulling it off a tree in a orchard in Wapato, Wash. (Photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)
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& # 39; Largest launch of a single variety ever & # 39;
It is remarkable that this is the first apple variety developed in the state of Washington, which has been known for apples for more than a century.
Researchers at WSU's Tree Fruit Research Center in Wenatchee spent 20 years growing the desired apple tree seeds. In addition to helping pay for that research, apple holders need a license to buy the trees and pay royalties for the sale of the fruit.
The trees take three years to produce a crop, said Kathryn Grandy, a member of the apple marketing team.
"This will be the single largest release ever, globally," she said, supported by a $ 10.5 million marketing budget.
Consumers won't have trouble finding the variety, said Grandy, who works for a company called Proprietary Variety Management and is based in the city of Chelan, in the heart of the apple land.
Work on developing the variety began in 1997, said Evans, of Washington State University. The cross hybridization process has been used to breed plants for hundreds of years, Evans said, and is quite different from the more controversial genetic modification methods.
"The goal, in my opinion, is to get more consumers to eat apples," she said. "Ultimately, it is the goal of every plant breeder."
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