The leaves are changing colors, the air is beginning to have a distinct, cool nip and everywhere I go, I can’t seem to get the ever-present bushels of apples off my mind.

Of course, you can get apples year round, but there is truly no better time to bite into a fresh, crisp apple than fall. Somehow the fuzzy boots and cup of coffee in my hand seem to make it just that much more enjoyable.

Nobody has ever had to twist my arm to say I’m a fan of apple pie, apple dumplings or caramel apples.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized you have to start thinking about your health (whether you want to or not). And apples are great for you — maybe not the covered in caramel part —but, good for you, nonetheless.

For one, they provide soluble fiber, are packed with vitamins A and C and antioxidants and are also associated with a lower risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases.

As they say, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.

But eating an actual apple (peel and all), a day — 365 days a year — can present a challenge. That was, until I discovered the game changer.

Now, to me, there are apples, and then there are Honeycrisp apples.

Once I made this switch, I’ve had little to no trouble eating that apple a day. And, I have to say, I can’t go back to eating any other kind of apple, because they’re just not the same. I guess you could say I’ve fallen hard (off the Honeycrisp tree).

But, we live in a world of upgrades, and people are obsessed with getting the latest and greatest model of pretty much everything. You can upgrade your phone, computer software, kitchen or even yourself via a makeover.

So, it should be no surprise they’re even upgrading our apples, and I’m not talking the iPhone in this case.

While Honeycrisp apples are wildly popular, they aren’t a favorite of most growers because they bruise easily, are tough to store and can’t tolerate heat.

That’s why researchers at Washington State University’s world-class tree-fruit breeding program developed a new apple, the Cosmic Crisp, expected to hit the consumer market by 2019.

The Cosmic is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp apples. Basically, the baby of Honeycrisp.

And just like the evil queen from “Snow White,” Honeycrisp just may have something to be envious of. According to WSU, this large, juicy apple has a remarkably firm and crisp texture that provides ample sweetness and tartness, making it an excellent eating apple.

But unlike its parent the Honeycrisp, it’s slow to brown when cut, and maintains its texture and flavor in storage for more than a year.

Sounds like an upgrade to me.

Sometimes advancements are made to get more money out of us, and sometimes they’re for the better.

Looks like times are changing, and all I can say is — Honeycrisp 2.0 — sign me up.

Article by Rachael Filkins Turner, The Daily Independent