Sweet and crisp, easy to grow, and extremely versatile whether eaten fresh or used for cooking, Golden Delicious is the ultimate all-around apple, though, the cultivar rarely gets the accolades it deserves. They’re a favorite of kids since the skin is thinner and the flavor is light and inviting.
Gala apples were developed in 1965 in New Zealand, but are now one of the most common crops in Washington. Gomez David / Getty Images Fuji apples were born in Japan, a cross between Red Delicious and Calls Janet, in the 1960s.
The Rock Host Reith Peach Such / EyeEm / Getty Images Granny Smith apples originated in Australia when Maria Smith found a mysterious seedling in 1868, but the seedling’s parentage is still only theoretical (most likely, a combination with a French crab apple). Today, Granny Smith apples are one of Washington’s most popular cultivars and are used for just about everything.
Tart and crisp when eaten fresh or used in salads, turns sweet when baked, and freezes well, too. The Best Use: Brae burns have a fair range of uses and are great for baking and eating fresh.
Wholden / Getty Images Developed by the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program, the Honey crisp is a hybrid known for an amazing balance of crispness, juicy sweetness, and just a hint of tartness. As a result, Honey crisp is a superb apple for eating raw, much like the Fuji.
They were cultivated in Australia by crossing Lady Williams apples with Golden Delicious. They might grow in any backyard garden, but go to any local grocery store, and you will see easily five apple varieties.
Uses: Snacking, Salads, Baking, Beverages, Pies, Sauce, Freezing Product of Washington State University apple breeding program.
Envy was born by crossing the Brae burn with the Royal Gala apple varieties. Falling in love after the first bite, a team of talented growers planted trees in prime growing regions, such as Washington State, where they bask in long, sun drenched days and crisp, cool evenings.
Very exotic, with a juicy super sweet taste, attractive striped ruby-red coloration. Originating in Italy, it’s quickly becoming a sweet apple lover’s favorite.
Uses: Snacking, Salads, Baking, Beverages, Pies, Sauce, Freezing The Smitten™ is a unique mix of the Gala, Brae burn, Falstaff and Fiesta varieties.
In Season: Limited supply until commercial volumes expected by fall of 2019 Juicy, aromatic flesh snaps when bitten into, and the apple has just the right amount of sweetness.
We’re in the heart of apple season here in Washington, a beautiful time of year for anyone who loves the delicious fruit our state is known for. And if you’ve ever been apple picking, you know how fun it is and how delicious they are fresh from the tree.
You can pick Jongagold, Gala and Honey crisp apples at the Farm at Swan's Trail. October is an especially fun time to visit since they also have wagon rides, duck races, a corn maze and a pumpkin patch.
They had a light crop this year, so plan to head there very soon or put them on your list for next fall. Address: 921 Harvest Lane PR Northeast, Richland, WA, 99352.
Every weekend in October, Bill's opens for their annual Apple Festival. Address: 3674 North County Line Road, Grandview, WA, 98930.
Get your Honey crisp, Early Gold and Donald fix from Smith's Hilltop Orchard, which you'll find in the Green Bluff area. Harvest runs through the end of October, and you'll have around 20 varieties of apples to choose from.
Add this to your list of farms to visit in fall in Washington. Wilson Banner Ranch uses natural growing practices and has an on-site cider mill (yum!).
Latin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm, Olympia Latin’s is open year-round and holds an Apple Festival the last weekend of September and every weekend in October with games, tractor-drawn wagon rides and visits with farm animals.
Jones Creek Farms offers more than 80 varieties of u-pick apples from August to November. Nothing says autumn in Washington like apple-picking… except walking through one of our charming pumpkin patches.
Washington produces 60% of the nation’s apples, so there are plenty of places to find delicious fruit in this great state. In the fall, this lovely apple orchard has tons of family activities.
Gather your loved ones and spend a day embarking on hayrides, exploring a corn maze, and picking out pumpkins. Not only will you get to devour the most amazing fruit, you’ll be able to partake in seasonal activities like train rides and pumpkin carving.
This is also the perfect time of year to sip on a hot cup of apple cider. Not only is this farm perfect for a day trip, it’s an incredible place to spend a night.
Guests can lay their heads on plush beds inside a turn-of-the-century farmhouse. People also love visiting Bill’s Berry Farm in Grandview.
Every weekend in October, this local farm has a massive pumpkin patch. Jessica Wick is a writer and travel enthusiast who loves exploring new places, meeting new people and, of course, beautiful Big Sky Country and every part of Washington State.
“When I got out of college, I was absolutely shocked that our industry was Reds and Golden's and that any new variety seemed to come from some other country,” says Hershey, whose family started growing pears and apples in Yakima in the 1900s. The Golden Delicious got its start in West Virginia, the Gala in New Zealand and the Granny Smith in Australia.
Barrett’s quest for better commercial apples has resulted in what growers and industry players believe will replace the aging Red Delicious and the grass-roots consumer favorite, the Honey crisp. The new apple, a variety named WA 38 by researchers and branded the Cosmic Crisp for marketing purposes, is leading WSU into uncharted territory.
Not surprisingly, consumers want varieties that are red, juicy, crunchy, taste good and don’t turn brown quickly. WSU and PVM are launching Cosmic Crisp at a time when more than 20 other varieties with premium aspirations are hitting the market.
Kate Evans, associate scientist at WSU's Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee, made the final decision on WA 38's being ready for commercialization as Cosmic Crisp. But because the Cosmic Crisp is bred for dense planting, fewer than 1,500 acres can accommodate 2 million trees.
Typically, a single grower, or maybe a handful, will bet on a new variety, and it takes 10 years or more to get a million trees planted. That volume can produce enough apples to fulfill regional orders; more trees are then needed to fill national demand.
Washington's state has about 165,000 bearing acres of apples and produces 65 to 70 percent of the nation’s supply. “We’re just waiting to see what kind of standards they set and how they plan to bring it to market,” Standard says.
Growers are betting the Cosmic Crisp will command a premium price, much like the Honey crisp, which changed the economics of the commercial apple industry. Through a grass-roots effort that took two decades, Honey crisp demand soared, growers rushed to plant more trees and retailers charged premium prices.
(Washington growers lead the nation in Honey crisp plantings but many have found the tree hard to grow and the fruit difficult to store, pack and ship, so some are ripping them out to make way for newer varieties.) About $20 a box is the minimum needed to make a profit with traditional commodity apples, says Desmond O’Rourke, a former WSU agricultural economics professor and founder and CEO of Melrose Inc., a market analysis firm in Pullman.
Recognizing that consumers would pay premium prices led the industry to pioneer a new economic model, one the Cosmic Crisp is helping to refine. Historically, access to apple varieties was “open,” meaning growers could plant as many as they wanted and could market them as they saw fit.
Today, apple varieties are patented, trademarked intellectual property, which breeders license to select growers, often exclusively. Through “clubs” or branded programs, the growers pay about a $1-per-tree licensing fee and then a royalty on boxes to cover marketing costs and trademark protection.
Like Fuji and Gala, shown here, the WA 38's cultivar, commercialized as Cosmic Crisp, is densely planted, with growers using trellised training systems and smaller trees. A club or managed brand can set quality standards, restrict the number of apple trees planted, if desired, and, most important, market the apple brand, a practice that previously was left to an individual grower’s marketer or sales team.
After expenses like PVM’s undisclosed management fee, marketing services and other outlays are paid, the remainder is split as set forth in the WSU faculty handbook, says James Mayer, associate dean of research at WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, known as CARS. This outcome would be a distinct improvement over WSU’s first attempt with a variety known as WA 2, which failed to gain traction.
Instead, growers simply paid the $1 tree-licensing fee and were encouraged to market WA 2 under whatever name they wanted. Meanwhile, Cosmic Crisp is debuting at a time when many other varieties are hitting the market or ramping up production, and all have similar premium aspirations.
Cornell University has launched the Ruby Frost and Snapdragon with Crunch Time Apple Growers in New York. The list of new premium varieties also includes Rave, Kike, Opal, Boru, Aurora, Smitten, JCI, Autumn Glory and 100 or so others that Susan Brown, the top apple breeder at Cornell, has identified.
The marketing of Cosmic Crisp falls to an advisory committee headed up by Hershey, who was drafted after he gave WSU and PVM an earful about the bungled WA 2 launch. Kathryn Grand, who leads marketing for PVM, says the promotional budget for Cosmic Crisp and its official funding source have yet to be determined.
Ste milt has Sweeping, CMI and Ambrosia, and Oppenheimer has a huge incentive to promote Jazz and Envy. The industry is still a few years away from knowing if America will warm to this large, juicy apple with a remarkably firm and crisp texture.
But Hershey, whose family has been growing apples for five generations, sees both economic promise and a measure of bragging rights at the core of Cosmic Crisp’s gestation. The West Seattle Bridge may not be open until 2021; the Farmers Markets are starting to come back, and the Tulip festival would like you to stay home, please.