Out of This World

Posted in Apples on Monday, August 08, 2022

Out of This World

A few years ago, we visited CMI Orchards to see the newest apple to hit the region. Like many other orchards throughout Washington, CMI has been growing Cosmic Crisp® since its release for public growth in 2019. We revisited the same orchard this year to see how the trees are producing, and what farmers are experiencing. Scott McDougall showed us around and gave us some good insights into how this perfectly balanced apple is impacting the market.

“We actually got these trees in a lottery, because there weren’t that many trees available,” explained McDougall. “And we were selected for 17 acres of the initial first-year planting of trees.”

“We think Cosmic Crisp® is a wonderful apple,” said McDougall. “At this time there are probably 19 million Cosmic Crisp® trees that have been planted in the last four years. It’s been fun, there’s a lot of hype with Cosmic. We think it will be an excellent apple, and it does store very well, allowing for year-round availability. The dessert quality is going to get better and better as the trees mature. It’s a very unique apple. It has a very nice fruit size.”

“They’re pretty big,” said host Kristi Gorenson. 

The flavor of Cosmic Crisp® is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. This makes the apple ideal for snacking, baking, cooking, juicing, or any other way you like to enjoy apples. Cosmic Crisp® apples were in development at Washington State University for more than 20 years before their release in 2017, and it has earned high marks from consumers and chefs for their perfectly balanced flavor, crisp texture, juiciness, and striking color. The climate of Washington offers the best apple-growing region in the world, and growers will most likely start the harvest of this year’s crop in the middle of fall.

“Cosmic Crisp® is an apple that we would normally harvest around Red Delicious timing, which, in this location, is around the 7th of October,” explained McDougall. Proper care and management of the orchards are necessary to get the best flavor to consumers.

“We’re challenged to do the best we can with the right kind of pruning, and try to achieve maximum bins per acre and quality fruit for the consumer,” said McDougall. “There isn’t any one year that’s the same. We deal with Mother Nature, and we have to be able to adapt. The exciting thing is that things are constantly changing. It’s incredible to look at a tree in the middle of winter, and it looks dead, and then to see these trees wake up in the spring. The viability of this variety can be 20 years plus.”