Wednesday, November 30, 2022

New apple variety Cosmic Crisp triggers unprecedented hype in the United States


Hailey Warner
Hailey isn't the biggest fan of Winter, but she's doing her best to embrace the cold weather and snow. You can find her trying out new recipes, playing squash or writing editorials.

In New York, it is easier to find gold-plated chocolate or caviar on bagels than this apple. The name is “Cosmic Crisp” and it has triggered unprecedented hype in the United States. The deep red cross between the varieties “Enterprise” and “Honeycrisp” has – according to its inventors – really everything you could want from an apple.

It  tastes sweet, be crisp, keep for up to ten months and hardly brown even if you cut it open, that is what the marketing machinery has already taught us. Now it has arrived at the American market – even if so far hardly any supermarket stocks the coveted and somewhat more expensive goods.

The first crop Cosmic Crisp apple that has been delivered to the United States since December consists of a modest 450,000 boxes of 18.5 kilograms – but the number is expected to increase forty times by 2026. Because while the first trees still had to be raffled due to the great demand, it was quickly replenished: Up to now farmers in the state of Washington have already planted more than twelve million trees.

“First crop Cosmic Crisp apple that has been delivered to the United States since December consists of a modest 450,000 boxes of 18.5 kilograms”

The history of the “Cosmic Crisp” – the scientific name is “WA 38” – started 22 years ago. In 1997 breeder Bruce Barritt from Washington State University started to cross the deep red “Enterprise” and the somewhat lighter and very popular “Honeycrisp”, genetic engineering was not involved.

Several selection phases later, the new apple was tested and turned out to be a splendid specimen: it was large, red and round, tasted good and had some advantages that are also important for sellers and producers.

The “Cosmic Crisp” has a long harvest window and can be picked without a large shrink even if there is a shortage of workers. In addition, the apple has a slower aging process and should remain crunchy even when stored for a long time and be robust against pressure, so that brown spots are less likely to appear. These are great advantages, especially for a large country like the United States with long transport routes.

Washington State University holds the rights to the variety and in Europe only one licensee in South Tyrol is allowed to cultivate and sell “Cosmic Crisp”.

Read also: America’s largest dairy company filed for bankruptcy

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