After more than 20 years of research and development, the shiny, orange-red Cosmic Crisp apple debuted this week in grocery stores, including at all of the Rosauers, Safeway and Albertsons locations in Spokane.
Kate Evans, a lead scientist at Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee, said she hasn’t visited the apple in the store as of yet, though some of her colleagues have.
“It is a little surreal just to even think that it’s out there, finally,” Evans said.
The apple predates Evans.
The WSU Cosmic Crisp project, which Evans said aimed to “make a new, improved apple for the Washington industry that would be great eating experiences for consumers,” began in 1997 when – using cross-hybridization between Enterprise and Honeycrisp varieties – the original seed for the first Cosmic Crisp tree was made. Evans took over the project in 2008.
“Throughout the selection and evaluation that we went through to select the Cosmic Crisp apple, we worked with quite a few grower cooperators who were growing the selection in their orchards that enabled us to test out how well the potential variety would grow in different areas around the state,” Evans said.
Dave Erickson, Rosauers’ produce buyer and merchandiser, said the apple is flying off the shelves in all 21 stores and especially in areas near Washington State University. Erickson said the Moscow store is already down half of its order. When they run out, Erickson said he will try to replenish the location from other stores.
“It’s an apple from our backyard. They’re selling very good,” Erickson said. “The apple is by far my favorite. I was a Honeycrisp fan, but they’re good.”
The Cosmic Crisp is crisp, juicy and sweet – though not overly so.
Erickson said he was only able to get his hands on 400 cases for all of his locations, with each case containing 40 pounds of apples. Rosauers sells the apple for $2.99 a pound. Safeway is selling the apple for $3.49 per pound.
Alan Shepherd, owner of Spokane’s Rocket Market, said he expects to have the apples on shelves Wednesday morning. He plans to sell the apples for around $4 per pound, but hasn’t finalized his price.
“They’ve done a really good job promoting them. I’ve gotten calls for them all the time,” Shepherd said. “There’s a lot of anticipation for it, and we’ll see if they live up to the hype.”
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