Our Northwest

Honeycrisp, move aside for 'WA 38'

Sunday, April 6, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Apple lovers, the ultimate new variety is coming soon, thanks to WSU researchers.
   Spurred by the popularity of Honeycrisp apples, WSU fruit breeders have developed what’s currently called “WA 38,” a variety specially bred for Eastern Washington’s soil and climate.
   What excites me is that some who have tasted it prefer it to Honeycrisp, describing WA 38 as very sweet but with “good tartness” and a crispy texture that up to now has been unique to Honeycrisp.
   I’ve lauded Honeycrisp apples (right) in the past. Since discovering them in 2002, I literally have not bought another variety. They’re the gold standard for me, and other varieties – even Braeburns and Fujis – taste bland in comparison.
   But Honeycrisp are hard to grow in the Northwest. Developed for a Minnesota climate, they require high maintenance and deliver lower yields.
   But if what researchers call (for now) WA 38 truly thrives in Eastern Washington, perhaps someday I’ll pluck their fresh fruit from a tree at our Cle Elum cabin.
   Consumers must wait a few years for farmers to plant and nurture their WA 38 trees to maturity. Researchers expect we'll see them in stores by 2019. Read the Tri-City Herald article.

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