Cosmic Crisp will be sold starting today in the United States, it is patented and the New York Times speaks of it as “the most promising and important apple of the future”
A new apple variety, called under the trade name “Cosmic Crisp,” will go on sale in the United States from December, after more than twenty years of research and grafting to select and grow it. The new apple is a cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise, two other varieties, and has been produced thanks to research conducted at Washington State University since 1997. The commercial initiative should offer new opportunities for the State of Washington, which will maintain the exclusive rights to grow Cosmic Crisp for the next ten years. According to its creators, in addition to having a unique texture and flavor, the new apple is suitable for long periods of storage: up to one year in refrigerators.
The idea of producing a new variety of apple was derived from the need to have a fruit that intrigued consumers, but at the same time was able to guarantee exclusivity for growers in Washington State. Cosmic Crisp was therefore developed to have the consistency of Honeycrisp and the ease of storage of Enterprise. The researchers explained that they paid particular attention to these two factors and less to the aesthetics of the fruit.
The skin of the Cosmic Crisp is dark red, dotted with many small spots (lenticels) lighter. The presence of the places on the dark color of the skin inspired the name “Cosmic” because according to the producers the surface resembles the starry sky.
The new apple has a ripening period comparable to Red Delicious, a variety created a century ago from the Golden Delicious mutation, and has become one of the best known and cultivated apples (in Italy, it is among the most successful varieties).
In recent years the development of Cosmic Crisp had been accompanied by growing interest from various experts in the sector and the media in the United States. In 2016 the New York Times had spoken about it defining the new fruit: “The most promising and important apple of the future.” According to analysts, Cosmic Crisp has the potential to be a tremendous commercial success, replacing other varieties in a few years. For the State of Washington, it is a great opportunity, considering that 70% of the apples sold in the United States are produced within its borders.
The first plantations of Cosmic Crisp were realized in Washington State in 2017, with subsequent orders for a total of 12 million trees. Each grower pays a license for the trees and apples sold. It is estimated that so far, more than 13 million Cosmic Crisp apples have been planted, with some controversy over the distribution of seeds, especially against Washington State University, which holds the patent for the new apple.
The State of Washington has so far spent 10 million dollars for the marketing of the new Cosmic Crisp, trusting in this way to attract the attention of consumers and immediately promote sales of the original product. According to analysts, it is the most extensive promotional campaign ever to advertise a new apple variety. The very term “Cosmic Crisp” is a registered trademark, and can therefore, not be used by producers without explicit permission.
The best-selling apple varieties produced in Washington State are Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. Still, sales have slowed in recent years due to increasingly fierce competition from Pink Lady and Royal Gala apples produced elsewhere. The new variety should change things, or at least that is what the growers who are joining the project are hoping for.
It is estimated that there are at least 7,000 varieties of apples in the world, some traditional and others born as a result of commercial initiatives. Developing new types, through crossbreeding, is an operation that takes years and can lead to costly failures. The availability during a good part of the year and the ease of storage have made apples one of the most widespread and sold fruits in the world. In the United States, they are the second most consumed fruit, just after bananas.