Quick, name your favorite apple. Not the one you’re reading this on, the kind you eat.
Or the kind they put on your plate with your sandwich at Panera Bread. Look, I don’t care if you don’t eat the damned thing, I’m trying to make a point. Maybe not eating the thing kind of IS the point. There’s a new Big Red coming to town and it’s Cosmic Crisp.
If you follow my blog you know I like to write about technology, strange things in the sky or strange things governments are up to or my own strange novels. Now—apples?!
Turns out this IS technology. Being a kid from New Hampshire in the 1960’s the Macintosh had always been my favorite. I lived close enough to the orchard to get them fresh—real fresh. Pick them myself fresh. But The Mac doesn’t hold up all that well in the back of a truck banging cross country from New Hampshire. Or Washington State.
According to the daily business web site “Morning Brew“ the Red Delicious became the Next Big Thing in the apple world, accounting for nearly three quarters of all apple production by 1988. True, there was a brief Beatle-induced spike of tie-dye, weed and Granny Smith apples in the 1970’s. Good enough, but Americans seem to like a red apple. Alas, Red Delicious has been in a recent steep decline (down 11% from 2017 to 2018 according to The Brew). And the pretty Gala is now the top dog—so to speak. Big Apple was already taken, OK?
My wife Norma, meanwhile, and my favorite local grower Henry Seidel, of Seidel Farm in our hometown of Holyoke, Massachusetts, swear by the Honey Crisp. I have to agree with them. It is clearly the star of the orchard, though the Seidels grow a range of great apples and fruit.
It’s sweet, crisp and keeps well. In fact, it’s part of the secret sauce for a brand new high tech apple with a pretty face, locked up brand and muscled up marketing campaign.
Cosmic Crisp has been under development for more than 20 years and is a crossbreed of Honeycrisp and Enterprise. It is said to be beautifully red, very crisp, wonderfully sweet and possess extraordinary staying power in the fridge. They are but a trickle of the apples now coming out of Washington, but by next season that trickle may become a torrent. The Brew claims $10.5 million was spent on the pre-launch marketing buzz this year.
But here’s the catch: According to USA Today, the State of Washington, America’s biggest apple producer, has negotiated with Washington State University, the breed developer, for exclusive rights to the apple until 2027. The growers there have invested millions in Cosmic Crisp trees. Cosmic Crisp was officially launched yesterday. According to some the apples are beautifully red with golden freckles, like stars. Some claim they can be stored in a refrigerator for as long as a year.
All right, what the heck are these things made of?
Richard A. Lee is the author of the “HIGH GROUND”