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New ‘Cosmic Crisps’ Could Elevate Apple Consumption, Help Utah Growers

SANTAQUIN, Utah – A new variety of apple called the “Cosmic Crisp” was released last week after 20 years of research at Washington State University.

The new apple is derived from a cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples and was bred for crispness and juiciness — and it lasts a long time.

“It’s a neat idea. You don’t always think about apples making the news,” said Matt Hargreaves, vice president of communications with the Utah Farm Bureau.

Currently, consumers can buy Cosmic Crisps in the Beehive State, but you won’t see them in Utah orchards for quite some time.

“There is intellectual property that comes with it, just like in the music industry,” Hargreaves said. “And so, with fruit, Washington State University did a lot of research here and so they’ve limited their growers in Washington state for about a 10-year period to grow those apples.”

Because of that, Utah apple growers could see a small dip with consumers wanting to try the new apple.

“I think it’s probably going to be a good apple, but I hope everybody just doesn’t go and just buy a Cosmic Crisp,” said Alan Riley, who has been in business with his Riley Farms orchard in Santaquin for more than 40 years.

Riley said he could’ve been a doctor and said he even thought about it while in school.

However, that old saying about “apples keeping doctors away” is what led him to his current career.

“Apples kept me out of medicine,” Riley said with a laugh.

He said a lot has changed since those early days.

“When I first started in 1976, it was Red Delicious, Gold Delicious, Romes, and John’s. That was it,” he said. “Now, there are a hundred varieties. Maybe more.”

Now, interest in the Cosmic Crisp — along with a multi-million-dollar marketing plan — could lead consumers to want to try more varieties, which would be good for the whole apple business.

“We just need people to keep eating lots of apples and keep that doctor away,” he said with another laugh.

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