Scientists at Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research Center in Wenatchee spent two decades developing the Cosmic Crisp apple. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Scientists at Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research Center in Wenatchee spent two decades developing the Cosmic Crisp apple. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The juicy new starlet of the apple universe is Cosmic Crisp

They’re the first apples developed in Washington, and growers planted 12 million Cosmic Crisp trees.

EVERETT — It’s the Kardashian of the fruit world.

The juicy starlet became an Instagram hottie almost overnight.

What’s up with that?

Cosmic Crisp is the apple that everybody is talking and posting about.

The Huskies might have trounced the Cougars on the football field this year, but WSU is the winner in this apple cup.

Washington State University apple scientists created Cosmic Crisp. It took 20 years of breeding.

The tart-yet-sweet apples finally came to fruition, arriving in stores nationwide Dec. 1.

Some might say it’s about time. Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji and the rest of the apple gang were all created elsewhere.

“This is the first apple that’s developed in Washington state,” said Kathryn Grandy, spokeswoman for Proprietary Variety Management, the company marketing Cosmic Crisp. “For us being the largest apple growing region in the country, it’s a really big deal.”

Washington is the apple capital of the U.S., growing about 70% of the nation’s fresh supply.

Growers have planted 12 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees, Grandy said. The apples will be grown exclusively in Washington for 10 years, with an option for 10 additional years. Growers must have a license and pay a royalty on sales of the fruit. Backyard gardeners in this state can buy the trees through certified nurseries.

For you academics, the apple’s cultivar name is WA 38. Its stage name is Cosmic Crisp. The symbol that you will start seeing everywhere is a cute round speckled swirl with an apple stem that doubles as the “o” in Cosmic.

The ultra-crisp apples are a cross between the Enterprise and the Honeycrisp.

Workers Edilia Ortega (left) and Reynaldo Enriquez pick Cosmic Crisp apples, a new variety and the first-ever bred in Washington, at an orchard in Wapato in October. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Workers Edilia Ortega (left) and Reynaldo Enriquez pick Cosmic Crisp apples, a new variety and the first-ever bred in Washington, at an orchard in Wapato in October. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Honeycrisp, introduced a couple of decades ago by the University of Minnesota, was nicknamed “Moneycrisp” by some growers.

Cosmic Crisp could be dubbed Co$mic Cri$p.

At some stores, a pound of these apples can cost as much as a gallon of gas.

Cosmic Crisps were $3.49 a pound at Safeway last week. At Costco, a package of 14 Cosmic Crisp apples was $14.99, with the same number of organic Gala going for $8.49.

Grandy said the name of this bi-color apple with tiny speckles was coined by consumer testers.

“Someone said, ‘Gosh, it looks like the night sky,’ and somebody else said, ‘Oh, like the cosmos.’ And it’s a Honeycrisp cross, so somebody said, ‘How about Cosmic Crisp?’”

The sky is the limit.

“There are about 400,000 boxes, which is a lot for the first year,” she said. “We are are forecasting 2.1 million boxes for our fall of 2020 harvest and 5.6 million for our fall of 2021 harvest.”

If you think this is all a ploy to get us to buy more apples, you’re right. And it’s just a start.

There will be branded Cosmic Crisp juices, pies, ciders, chocolates and more from partnerships with major companies.

But why wait?

Randy Bolerjack, WSU Everett spokesman, said the slices go great with Cougar Gold cheese.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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