Washington state agribusiness, in the form of its many apple growers and apple processing plants, is staking everything on a brand new apple — The Cosmic Crisp. Although the name has already produced jokes on late night TV and in stand up routines across the country, apple growers in Washington state, where the apple was first developed and is now the only state with mature orchards ready to harvest, thinks that its new apple will outsell the ubiquitous Honeycrisp starting in December — when it goes on sale in supermarket produce sections across the country.
The name Cosmic Crisp refers to the bright yellow dots on the red skin, which some have compared to stars in the universe. The apple was developed by scientists at Washington State University over concerns that Honeycrisp and other popular varieties are becoming more and more vulnerable to leaf rust and apple borers. It’s estimated that an apple orchard of one hundred acres must now spray nearly two hundred gallons of insecticide each year to prevent insect pests from destroy or marring most of the fruit.
Cosmic Crisp was developed to withstand the attacks of leaf thrips and to discourage boring insects like beetles and nocturnal moths. If successful, it stands to save the American apple industry millions of dollars each year in spraying and other chemical expenses.