WSU’s Cosmic Crisp apple to hit market Dec. 1

After 20 years in the making, locally developed apple variety to debut with more crunch, longer shelf life



Research for the Cosmic Crisp apple began in the late 90s. The apple is collected during a gap between the harvest of other apple varieties and has a durable shelf life. The taste of the Cosmic Crisp may even improve over time postharvest.

CAMERON SHEPPARD, Evergreen reporter

Apple enthusiasts will soon be able to buy the anticipated Cosmic Crisp apple when the WSU-developed apple variety hits stores Dec. 1.

It is a project over 20 years in the making. WSU professor Bruce Barritt started research on the Cosmic Crisp in the late 90s. Kate Evans, WSU professor and horticulturist, took over the project after his retirement in 2008.

Evans said the Cosmic Crisp is unique because of its ideal levels of sugar and acid, which make it both tart and sweet.

Kathryn Grandy, director of marketing and operations for Proprietary Variety Management, the company that won the bid for the rights to the Cosmic Crisp in 2013, said the apple has an impressive crunch when bitten into.

Evans said the Cosmic Crisp is a hybrid between Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples.

“The process is as simple as taking pollen from Honeycrisp, and using the pollen on flowers of Enterprise apples,” she said.

Grandy said there are currently around 12 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees in the state of Washington in small, medium and large orchards and farms.

“The industry is enormously excited,” she said.

Evans said the harvest season for these apples is ideal for fruit growers because it fills a gap in between the harvest season of other apple varieties. This makes it ideal for the efficient use of labor for fruit producers.

Grandy said the Cosmic Crisp has a durable shelf life, and the apples may even taste better after sitting a few weeks postharvest.

“We can store this apple easily for a year,” she said. “They taste as fresh in June as they do in December.”

Grandy said that Washington produces 65-75 percent of the nation’s apples, yet this is the first variety that originated from the state.

Proprietary Variety Management is currently working on partnerships with other companies to incorporate the use of Cosmic Crisp apples in cider, pies and juices.