“This is the first time anyone has made such a concerted effort to develop a variety, release it and commit to such a large quantity,” Crassweller added. There is a $10.5 million advertising campaign to boost the launch.
The best news is Washington apple growers will have exclusive rights to the Cosmic Crisp for 10 years. That’s only fitting since our state’s orchardists paid researchers at Washington State University to develop it over the last 20 years. Apple growers need a license to buy the trees and pay a royalty on sales of the fruit.
This large, juicy apple has a remarkably firm and crisp texture. Some say it snaps when you bite into it. It is surprisingly sweet, holds it freshness well over a year, and doesn’t brown as quickly when cut.
Kate Evans, the British director of Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, claims it is a real good apple. Her predecessor, Bruce Barritt, started the breeding program in 1994, realizing that our state’s apple crop was dominated (70 percent) by Red Delicious.
“I just felt like they put all their eggs in one basket,” Barritt told Time magazine. “That cash cow wasn’t going to last forever.” He was right. Red Delicious production fell 11 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the U.S. Apple Association.
Apples are a $2.5 billion-a-year business in Washington, which grows about 60 percent of the nation’s supply, or nearly 140 million boxes. The state has about 1,500 apple growers and 175,000 acres of orchards. About 50,000 people pick some 12 billion apples by hand each fall. The fruit is exported to 60 countries, the LA Times recently reported.
Washington is America’s fourth-biggest exporter by state behind Texas, California and New York. In 2018 our state’s farmers and manufacturers sent $77.7 billion worth of goods around the globe. Apples accounted for $760 million — and are hopefully poised to zoom forward if new trade agreements pending in Congress are finally ratified.