Earlier this month, we received our first shipment of Opal apples from Yakima. We had received some earlier on from Canada but these were the first Washington grown Opals we had seen.
I was told that it was a new variety of apple and the box they came in even advertise them as a new apple. So where do all of these varieties come from and why does it seem like every week I’m talking about a new apple?
Because every year, apple cultivators do what they can to inject some variety into the apple world. Besides: “green, yellow and red” are better suited as colors, not names.
The “new” variety people are likely most familiar with is the Honeycrisp. It came around in the late 1990’s and has been one of the most popular cultivars of apples, worldwide. They didn’t reach their height of popularity until the mid-2000’s.
That’s not uncommon. Apple varieties can take a long time to be perfectly cultivated. For example, the Ruby Frost took 17 years to completely cultivate. That was considered fast.
In an interview with NPR; Fred Wescott, president of Wescott Agri Products said, "We're just waiting for the skeletons to come out of the closet in every variety. There's always a potential that you could get sideswiped after years of hard work."
The Honeycrisp was just the beginning, particularly in the states. According to this article, apples have 45 unique attributes at various stages in their development and a new variety can be the difference in only one of those attributes.
It was Opal this year. Next year it could be the Cosmic Crisp which is set to debut out of Pullman in retail stores next year. The Cosmic Crisp is an offshoot of the Honeycrisp and is already being heralded as “The Apple of the Future."
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