SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – 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 1
Cosmic Crisp is the first apple ever grown in Washington state, which grows the majority of the United States apples. It is expected to be a game changer.
Growers have already planted 12 million apple trees of Cosmic Crisp, a sign of confidence in the new variety. While 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
The apple variant was developed by Washington State University. Washington producers, 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 stays in storage and refrigerator for a long time, 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 Crisps is a cross between the disease-resistant Enterprise and the popular, crunchy Honeycrisp varieties. Honeycrisp, nicknamed "Moneycrisp" by some growers, was the last apple that aroused a huge 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 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 a lot of them."
Apple is a $ 2.5 billion-a-year business in Washington, which grows around 60% of the nation's supply, or nearly 140 million boxes. 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.The fruit is exported to 60 countries.
With such great success, why was a new apple variety needed?
"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."
"The market share of sometimes mushy red delicious apples that fell over time was looking to replicate the success of the Honeycrisp," Adams said.
"It's going to shake things up in a great way," Adams said. will increase in volume rapidly. " Adams couldn't speculate on how much Cosmic Crisp apples would cost per pound.
"Better quality gives better returns," said producer Clark. "This is an ideal deal, man. We're trying to make some money from it."
It is noteworthy 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 this 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 largest launch of a single variety ever, globally," she said, supported by a $ 10.5 million marketing budget.
Consumers will have no 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, that's the goal of any plant breeder."