A new apple variety, WA 64, has been developed by Washington State University’s apple breeding program. The college is taking suggestions on what to name the variety. (WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences)

A new apple variety, WA 64, has been developed by Washington State University’s apple breeding program. The college is taking suggestions on what to name the variety. (WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences)

Editorial: Apple-naming contest fun celebration of state icon

A new variety developed at WSU needs a name. But take a pass on suggesting Crispy McPinkface.

By The Herald Editorial Board

Here’s you chance to pick a name that will go on millions of chore-to-peel-off labels on apples grown in Washington state.

Apple breeders at Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences have developed a new apple variety, a cross between the popular varieties Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink, also known as Pink Lady. Currently dubbed WA 64 — for the 64th variety developed at the WSU college — the apple offers a balance between its two parent pommes.

“WA 64 is a great balance of tart and sweet, firm, crisp, and juicy,” Kate Evans, professor and head of WSU’s apple breeding program said in a release last week, The Washington State Standard reported.

The apple, with good storage quality, is small to medium in size, yellow with a pink to red blush peel, and described by developers as more crisp and juicy than the Cripps Pink but slightly less so than a Honeycrisp, with sweetness and acidity between the two varieties.

But it needs a name snappier than WA 64.

The college is asking for name suggestions and accepting entries until May 5 at wsu.edu/wa64contest/.

Lest you be tempted to suggest Apple McAppleface or even Crispy McPinkface, the apple breeders are looking for something with a connection to WSU, Washington state or the new apple’s characteristics, but no mash-ups — applesauce? — of the hybrid’s parents, such as Honey Pink or Pink Crisp. And no profanity, offensive language, existing trademarks or illegal substances or activities, as — we’re guessing — most of those are already in use by the state’s recreational cannabis industry.

“We’re looking for a name that’s memorable and punchy,” Jeremy Tamsen, a WSU apple spokesperson, said in a news release.

Along with seeing the name at produce bins at the local grocery, the person with the winning entry will receive a gift box of the WA 64 apples, a charcuterie board engraved with the new name, a 30-ounce can of WSU Creamery’s Cougar Gold cheddar cheese, two bottles of WSU-developed spice rubs and a WSU coffee mug and water bottle.

As treasured as a tin of Cougar Gold is, the honor of naming the new apple would be significant. WA 64 has been in development since 1998 at the college’s tree fruit research center and extension office in Wenatchee. But it’s only the third apple to be released to growers by the research program. The trees are expected to be available to growers by 2026 — but only to Washington state orchards for the first 10 years or longer — and not available in grocery stores until 2029.

WA 64 follows two other varieties developed by WSU breeders, including WA 38, which is now known as Cosmic Crisp and WA 2, the first apple released by the breeding program and which is now called Sunrise Magic, a cross of Splendour and Gala apples.

Although more than 30 apple varieties are grown in the state, the most popular varieties include Gala, which passed Red Delicious in production about six years ago, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink and Cameo.

WSU is being protective of the new variety; even when eventually made available to foreign orchards, import into U.S. markets of the apples will be barred.

Apples are serious business in Washington state, which harvests between 10 billion and 12 billion apples each year; supplying 6 of every 10 apples consumed in the U.S.

Apples are grown on 175,000 acres of orchards in the state with a market value of nearly $2 billion each year. The industry employed more than 17,000 people in 2022, about a fifth of all agricultural jobs, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

A name that honors the apple industry, the state — and the apple, itself — is worth a few minutes of appreciation and thought.

Now, if the folks at Wazzu could do something about the annoying labels … .

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

The vessel Tonga Chief, a 10-year-old Singaporean container ship, is moored at the Port of Everett Seaport in November, 2023, in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald file photo)
Editorial: Leave port tax issue for campaign, not the ballot

Including “taxing district” on ballot issue to expand the Port of Everett’s boundaries is prejudicial.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Wednesday, May 22

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Burke: Torrent of lies doing what’s intended; wearing us down

When media outlets stop bothering to check the facts that leaves it to us to question the falsehoods.

Drivers could have helped limit mess from I-5 shutdown

While I was not involved in the I-5 northbound traffic backup on… Continue reading

Everett School District should allow graduates to wear regalia

My name is Lanie Thompson, and I am a current senior at… Continue reading

Making college affordable key to our future

The cost of attending college is prohibitively expensive. This barrier to entry… Continue reading

Snohomish County Councilmembers Nate Nehring, left, and Jared Mead, speaking, take turns moderating a panel including Tulip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin, Stanwood Mayor Sid Roberts and Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell during the Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Western Washington University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Candidates, voters have campaign promises to make

Two county officials’ efforts to improve political discourse skills are expanding to youths and adults.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks to a reporter as his 2024 gubernatorial campaign launch event gets underway in Seattle, on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. ( Jerry Cornfield/Washington State Standard)
Editorial: Recruiting two Bob Fergusons isn’t election integrity

A GOP activist paid the filing fee for two gubernatorial candidates who share the attorney general’s name.

Foster parent abstract concept vector illustration. Foster care, father in adoption, happy interracial family, having fun, together at home, childless couple, adopted child abstract metaphor.
Editorial: State must return foster youths’ federal benefits

States, including Washington, have used those benefits, rather than hold them until adulthood.

Making adjustments to keep Social Security solvent represents only one of the issues confronting Congress. It could also correct outdated aspects of a program that serves nearly 90 percent of Americans over 65. (Stephen Savage/The New York Times) -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH NYT STORY SLUGGED SCI SOCIAL SECURITY BY PAULA SPAN FOR NOV. 26, 2018. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED.
Editorial: Social Security’s good news? Bad news delayed a bit

Congress has a little additional time to make sure Social Security is solvent. It shouldn’t waste it.

Kristof: If slowing Gaza aid isn’t criminal, it’s unconscionable

The allegations against Israel’s Netanyahu center on Israel’s throttling of aid into a starving Gaza.

Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, May 21

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.