A new variety of apple called the Cosmic Crisp became available to the public in December 2019. This highly-anticipated apple has had no shortage of controversy since its announcement and was even embroiled in a legal dispute between Washington State University and Seattle startup Phytelligence.
The New York Times has commented on the apple as being “dramatically dark” and “explosively crisp and juicy”- even going so far as to call it “the most promising and important apple of the future.” Let’s explore why it’s causing so much excitement:
What Is the Cosmic Crisp Apple?
The Cosmic Crisp is a hybrid of the Honeycrisp apple and Enterprise apple. Breeding of this variety began in 1997 in Wenatchee, Washington and is most notably praised for its beautiful appearance. Its light spots against its red skin call to mind a galaxy- hence the name Cosmic Crisp.
It was grown to have the taste of a Honeycrisp but the shelf life of an Enterprise. It takes around 3 years to produce a crop.
History of the Cosmic Crisp
Even though the majority of American apples are grown there, the Cosmic Crisp apple is the first apple variety developed in Washington State (apples are also the Washington State fruit as of 1989).
12 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees were pre-ordered by orchards in the spring of 2017, making it the largest apple launch in history. Washington state growers will maintain exclusive growing rights to the Cosmic Crisp apple variety for the first decade.
Experts are predicting the apple’s large size and juicy flavor will make it a huge hit with consumers. They are also slow to brown even after being cut and are able to maintain their flavor and texture even after being in storage for over a year.
The Cosmic Crisp Apple Lawsuit
Phytelligence was actually a spin-off company from Washington State University, having been founded by one of its professors, Amit Dhingra.
After signing an agreement with Washington State University in 2012 to grow Cosmic Crisp trees on behalf of the school, both parties eventually became locked in a long-standing legal dispute over propagation rights and patent infringement claims. Phytelligence was seeking a license to sell the trees while WSU claimed the startup was selling Cosmic Crisp trees though unauthorized to do so.
In June of 2019, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against WSU. Eventually, Phytelligence announced in September 2019 that their board of directors unanimously decided to liquidate its assets and shut down the company.
Cosmic Crisp Apple – Where to Buy
Washington State is promoting the release of this new apple with the largest campaign in apple industry history for a single apple variety. They are estimated to spend over $10 million on marketing efforts, starting with the tagline “Imagine the Possibilities.”
Consumers are able to buy Cosmic Crisp apples in a wide variety of grocery stores since its national release. Orchard at the Office plans to offer this as an office fruit delivery option shortly after its launch.