Cosmic Crisp is one of Time Magazine’s 240 Reasons to Celebrate America

71. A New Wave of Johnny Appleseeds

After decades of churning out good-looking but blah-tasting apples, America’s big orchards are in the midst of a delicious transformation. New varieties are dropping faster than ever in the U.S. – about every dozen years, where it used to take 40. When the University of Minnesota released the hard, sugary Honeycrisp in the early ‘90s, the nation got a taste of what apples could be if they’re bred for flavor (unlike the shiny but often mealy Red Delicious). Since then, breeders have seized on America’s prime growing conditions – sunny days, cool nights – to find the next sensation. New varieties aim to improve on the Honeycrisp; SnapDragon doesn’t succumb to as many diseases, while RubyFrost comes with amped-up levels of Vitamin C and resists browning. “We get fan mail,” says Susan Brown, director of the apple-breeding program at Cornell and creator of the two new apples. Next up in the produce aisle: the tangy Cosmic Crisp from Washington State University, set to debut in 2017.

Article by Mandy Oaklander, Time Magazine