Breakthrough of the 21st Century: Apples That Can Last A Year


Expected to be a “game changer” for consumers, a new generation of apples hit the markets in Washington, U.S., on December 1st, 2019. This new apple variety, known as the Cosmic Crisp, was capable of remaining fresh for up to a year. Is such an apple possible for the 21st century?


The producer of this apple is a horticulturist named Bruce Barrit. In other words, the creator of this apple is an expert in garden cultivation and management. He stated, “I would walk down long rows of hundreds and thousands of trees, and when I found an ­attractive fruit, I’d bite, chew, spit it out. Most were terrible, but when I found one with good texture and flavor, I’d pick 10 or 20 of them. Then I put them in cold storage to see how they would hold up after a few months. After that, three or four researchers sat down and tasted every apple. We checked acidity and sugar levels, which can break down over time, and tested firmness and crispness using instruments that measure pressure and cell breakdown. When we found exactly what we wanted, we planted clones and tested them all over again.” This long, tedious process led to the eventual creation of the Cosmic Crisp.


The breeding for this apple began in 1997 at Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, Washington. After more than 20 years of excruciating work that spent large investments on research and investigations, scientists eventually made the last adjustments to these apples and the first Cosmic Crisp apple tree was planted in 2017.


For the next decade, the planting of the Cosmic Crisp trees will only be licensed to farmers in Washington state who funded the research of this new product. Currently, over 12 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees have been planted in the state of Washington, showing confidence in the marketing of this new product, USA Today reported.


“We think it’s going to change the apple category,” West Mathison said during an interview with the news station KIRO 7. Mathison is a licensed breeder of the Cosmic Crisp. During the interview, he explained that since this is the first harvest of the Cosmic Crisp apple trees, they will be available for only two months this year. Next year, after more trees have been planted, more Cosmic Crisp apples will be produced and available for a longer period of time. 


However, the planting of the Cosmic Crisp apple trees is overpriced. Planting the first batch of 12 Cosmic Crisp apple trees cost farmers an estimation of over $40 million investment.


The Cosmic Crisp is a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Enterprise, “intended to combine the juicy texture and the late-ripening characteristics of both breeds,” according to In a discussion with NPR (National Public Radio), Kate Evans, a professor at Washington State University who helped with the breeding of Cosmic Crisp, stated, “The Cosmic Crisp is a extremely crisp and juicy apple, and that’s really what hits you when you first bite into it—a good combination of sweetness and tartness.”


“When you release an apple, you have to get the name out there because consumers are purchasing apples by name,” Evans continued. The apple’s name was inspired by its “large size, crisp texture, great productivity and beautiful red color with white lenticels that sparkle like stars,” Raintree Nursery maintained.


Aaron Clark, the vice president of the Price Cold Storage located in Yakima, has planted approximately 80 acres of Cosmic Crisp apples trees in central Washington. He concludes, “I’ve never seen an apple prettier in the orchard than these things are.”