The new apple developed for a specific place

More than twenty years have needed the Cosmic Crisp, a new apple variety created by scientists from the state of Washington (northwestern United States), to reach those who will say the last word about its taste and texture: consumers. This December 1, consumers will have their first meeting in stores and supermarkets with the fruit given by the 12 mllion apple trees of this variety that, in a great show of confidence in science, have already planted farmers in the state of Washington, one of the largest apple producers in the country.

By 2020, 450 thousand boxes of 18 kilos are expected to be released and the number will gradually increase to more than 21 million boxes in 2026, according to the Cosmic Crisp Apple Growers Association. The new apple, of an attractive bright red color with small yellow dots called «lenticels», has been developed by the Washington State University (WSU) team.

Washington state farmers have already planted 12 million apple trees to produce this new apple.

As explained by Kate Evans, responsible for the innovation program of fruit trees and professor of the department of horticulture of that university, it is a cross between the Enterprise and Honeycrisp varieties. The process used is called «cross hybridization», which is that scientists take pollen from an apple crop and pollinate the flowers of a different crop. They then analyze the different genes of the resulting seeds that, once germinated, «provide innumerable characteristics about the future fruit», Evans explained.

The process of creating the Cosmic Crisp began in 1997 under the direction of Bruce Barrit, who retired in 2008, and was driven by the need to seek an alternative to the Red Delicious, the most produced apple in Washington, whose sales began to decline by then. The first thing to know if a fruit is viable for the industry is «to demonstrate the durability, since the apple is produced in large quantities and during the twelve months of the year», said Evans.

That is something we know after studying «in detail» the fruit after different periods of «cold storage», says Evans. Then the «flavor and texture» factor enters, which begins in the laboratory and continues with test rounds in which groups of consumers participate. The scientist says that this new modality differs from the others because it has been cultivated with higher levels of acidity and sugar.

The balance achieved makes the Cosmic Crisp «break easily when chewed» and it is necessary to add less sugar when used to make sweets. They say it maintains its flavor even after it has been stored for more than a year. As indicated by the quality analysis prepared by chef Meg Raines, from the renowned blog Williams and Raines (, the Cosmic Crisp brings a lot of «natural sweetness to the baked goods».

Specially designed for the climate and soil of the state of Washington, producer of more than half of the country’s apples, farmers in areas such as Pullman, Yakima and Seattle, will enjoy exclusive production rights for 10 years. The producers of the state are «satisfied with the results» of the project to create this new apple. The Cosmic Crisp «outperforms the Enterprise variety in its resistance and is similar in size to that of the Fuji variety», according to data from the Washington Apple Growers Association.

The apple of the golden lenticels is a hope for the farmers of the northwest of the country in a year in which, according to a report of the Agricultural Federation, the number of requests for protection of federal aid, under Chapter 12, for Bankruptcies of family farms have increased by 74% compared to 2018. Apple producers in the Northwest are affected by tariffs and fight against a prolonged slowdown in the agricultural economy that has worsened due, in addition, to two consecutive years of adverse planting, cultivation and harvest conditions.

The WSU research team anticipates that soon there will be other developments in the world of apples. The projects to market two other new types, the «Ludacrisp» and the «Summerset», are «in an advanced stage» and the tests with consumers will begin next spring.

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