Shoot growth primarily at the end of branches, typical of a type-4 or tip-bearing scion. (photos courtesy of WSU)
Cosmic Crisp (WA 38) (photos courtesy of WSU)
(Source: Washington State University)
Staining, visible in early September, has always colored over and has yet to be an issue in evaluation plots at the time of harvest.(photos courtesy of WSU)
This picture shows the pattern of starch conversion desirable for long-term storage.(photos courtesy of WSU)
Secondary bloom and blind wood on two-year-old grafts near Quincy, 2014.(photos courtesy of WSU)
WA 38 fruit singles out naturally (Quincy, May 21, 2014).(photos courtesy of WSU)
In the field, Washington State University’s new apple, WA 38, which has the brand name Cosmic Crisp, has unique behavior as compared to most scion varieties.
WA 38 has not shown high sensitivity to sunburn (compared to Honeycrisp or Gala) nor bitter pit. Storage disorders such as internal browning, lenticel breakdown, soft scald, or superficial scald have not appeared in fruit stored for ten months. Fruit size is moderate to large (with an average of 65 percent or more in the 64 to 80 size range). WA 38 has been picked at starch clearing of 1.5 to 2.0 (see Figure 5) on the Washington 6-point starch scale, which occurs around September 21 in Mattawa to October 1 in Quincy. This fruit has stored with minimal loss of flavor in long-term CA (controlled atmosphere) storage, even when not treated with MCP (1-methylcyclopropene). Fruit has also been harvested at 3.5 to 4.0 on the 6-point starch scale and stored well in RA (regular storage) through January and CA until May. Although we have used several pick dates in our trials, we have also strip picked fruit and stored it successfully. Trials are planned for the 2014 season to better delineate the relationships of harvest maturity (as related to one pick), fruit history (such as bud type), or crop load to flavor in fruit stored for six months or more. WA 38 eating quality is good when fruit is picked early or late. Consumer taste tests have shown WA 38 apples stored for six months (CA only, no 1-MCP) are preferred over Gala (CA + 1-MCP) in appearance, taste, texture, and flavor.
When WA 38 were presented to consumers for direct comparison with Honeycrisp, consumers liked both cultivars equally in October and December, but in March, WA 38 was preferred by most (see Good Fruit Grower, June 2014). In addition, in an experiment conducted with fruit from the 2012 crop, WA 38 (CA storage) was preferred by consumers to Gala apples (industry standard treatment of CA + 1-MCP). The late-picked fruit (with advanced starch degradation) may need to be sold relatively early (November to December). Fruit color does vary by climate in central Washington, but eating quality and storability have not been affected significantly by heat. Cooler, high-elevation sites (or blocks with overhead cooling) can achieve very dense red color, while hot locations may have partial red striped color similar to the better striped strains of Gala or Red Delicious. Staining, as seen in Figure 6, which is visible in early September, has always colored over and has yet to be an issue in evaluation plots at the time of harvest. WA 38 has been thoroughly evaluated before being introduced to the Washington tree fruit industry.
—Assessment of horticultural traits in nine locations and environments —Food science sensory evaluations —Regular and CA storage trials, both with and -without MCP —Evaluation for internal defects and flavor after 6, 8 and 10-month CA storage (No observed issues in four years of Red Delicious storage protocols) —Commercial packing line runs —Sensory laboratory tests against other varieties (2010, 2011) —Consumer tests (compared to Gala and Honeycrisp) —Grower sampling at Washington State Horticultural Association meetings and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission reviews It is our conclusion that WA 38 is grower friendly in most (perhaps all) sites in Washington State and that it should present minimal problems in harvesting, storage, packing, or marketing. In addition, it should have good consumer acceptance.
Appended clarification: The new apple variety developed by Washington State University remains known as WA 38. For marketing purposes, the brand name, or trademark, that WSU has selected for use with the WA 38 variety is Cosmic Crisp.