The Washington Cosmic Crisp apple is probably the most famous apple you knew about before actually taking a bite.
The apple, which hit grocery store shelves a month ago, sat on legislators’ desks during Gov. Jay Inslee’s State of the State speech last week. He referenced the genius of Washington thinking during the event, saying the Cosmic Crisp was one of those big, innovative Washington ideas that became a reality.
The new apple is Washington-grown — but it took about 20 years. Washington State University researchers developed the apple through breeding and extensive testing. The Washington apple industry contributed funds toward the Cosmic Crisp development. That’s why Washington growers are the only ones who get to grow the trees during, or at least for, the next 10 years.
Washington growers started planting the trees commercially in 2017. Apple harvest started in October and the apples started shipping from warehouses last December.
Derek Sandison, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture said the Cosmic Crisp story is another example of Washington not only growing the most apples in the country but the best apples.
“The Cosmic Crisp is a success story that demonstrates how effective partnerships between industry and research facilities can be, making a new, top-quality Washington apple available to apple lovers locally and around the world,” Sandison said.
The new apple made headlines across the country last month, including stories in Time Magazine, Today and the LA Times. The Cosmic Crisp got its name from the little white sparkles on the apple’s skin, reminding consumer focus group members of starry flecks in the night sky.
It’s easier for farmers to grow the Cosmic Crisp, especially compared to one of its local parents: the Honeycrisp. This makes the apple popular for growers and consumers.
Kate Evans (who heads WSU’s Apple Breeding Program) and André Wright (Dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences) attended and represented the WSU apple team at Inslee’s speech Jan. 14, 2020.