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'Cosmic Crisp': Researchers Develop A New Apple


And we've got a couple of minutes now to tell you about a brand-new apple product - one with a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. And it's predicted to fly off the shelves this holiday season. But this one you can only find in your supermarket's produce aisle.


GONYEA: The Cosmic Crisp is an actual apple - a cross between the Enterprise and Honeycrisp varieties.

KATE EVANS: I can't speak with my mouth full (laughter). When you release an apple, you have to get the name out there because consumers are purchasing apples by name.

GONYEA: Kate Evans helped create it. She runs the apple-breeding program at Washington State University.

EVANS: 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.

GONYEA: And now, after more than two decades of development, the Cosmic Crisp is finally on its way to consumers.

EVANS: It's an attractive apple - sort of a darkish red with yellow background - got its name because of the white lenticels on the surface that looked a little bit like stars in the cosmos. And also when you slice it or bite into it, it's very slow to brown. So that's kind of nice - is it keeps its color.

GONYEA: The Cosmic Crisp is the result of time-consuming traditional plant breeding.

EVANS: Gregor Mendel, I'm sure, would absolutely recognize what we're doing. It's very, very similar. I mean, we're talking about genetics, and segregation is exactly the same.

GONYEA: It took two decades to go from the initial cross-selection in 1997 until saplings were planted commercially in 2017. Washington State University owns the patent, and Evans says the school has a vested interest in the apple's success.

EVANS: There is a tree royalty and also a production royalty. Some funding comes back into the university from every tree that is sold but also every box of fruit that's sold as well.

GONYEA: And that funding helps Evans and her team continue their work.

EVANS: It is ongoing. We're always looking for that next new apple.

GONYEA: So when you crunch into your first Cosmic Crisp...


GONYEA: ...Thank horticulture professor Kate Evans and her apple-breeding program at Washington State University. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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