YAKIMA, Wash. – The potential of Cosmic Crisp is already out of this world.

Just when the industry needs a new standard variety to replace the flagging fortunes of red and golden delicious varieties, the Cosmic Crisphas the potential to be a winner for breeders, nurseries, growers, retailers and consumers, said Lynnell Brandt, president of Proprietary Variety Management.

“Right now we don’t know of any challenges in the production, marketing or packaging of the selection,” he said.

With red delicious and golden delicious output fading, the Cosmic Crisp could be an important variety in the state’s future.

“It is a great piece of fruit and it answers a lot of needs,” said Jim McFerson, manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, Wenatchee. The variety handles and store wells and has great consumer appeal, he said.

Consumer tests have routinely revealed the variety to be on a par with Honeycrisp, he said.

McFerson said there are standing orders for hundreds of thousands of Cosmic Crisp trees by growers.

“There is still clearly unmet demand for more trees,” he said.

Cosmic Crisp will reach production levels of hundreds of thousands of boxes soon [and] will be harvested at the end of September and the first part of October, similar to red delicious.

McFerson said the Cosmic Crisp could be considered the “new red delicious,” by some, though it doesn’t share a lot of the sensory properties of reds. “It could be an iconic Washington apple,” [he] said.

Based on the number of trees ordered for planting in the next several years, Brandt said Cosmic Crisp could yield at least 8 million cartons of fresh production within 12-15 years, with the upward potential of perhaps double that.

Proprietary Variety Management has a contract to help commercialize the Cosmic Crisp. The apple, a cross between the enterprise and the Honeycrisp, was developed by the breeding program of Washington State University. Brandt said the mission of Proprietary Variety Management is to commercialize varieties for the life of their intellectual property rights on behalf of the breeders.

A limited amount of fruit was sent to marketing firms in 2014 to taste test with consumers and retailers, said Cristy Warnock, operations manager of Proprietary Variety Management.

The first plantings of the variety will occur in 2017, followed by substantial plantings in 2018 and expected strong demand 2019…

Article by Tom Karst, The Packer