In June 2023, WSU posted an Announcement of Opportunity (AOO) to license the next apple from its renowned Tree Fruit research program, called WA 64. Proceeding from the proposals submitted by respondents to the AOO prior to the August deadline for submissions, WSU has begun negotiations with the first potential licensee for WA 64, the International New Varieties Network, known as INN. While negotiations have begun, a license agreement with WSU must be completed and executed by INN prior to the start of commercialization of Washington’s newest apple.
WA 64 is a cross between Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink, made through traditional plant breeding in the Wenatchee area in 1998, and it is the third apple variety WSU has chosen to release for commercialization by the Washington apple industry. In the United States, WA 64 will be available only to growers in the state of Washington, and, just like the Cosmic Crisp® apple that WSU released for commercial plantings in 2017, foreign-grown WA 64 apples will be prohibited from import into the U.S. so they are not competing with Washington-grown apples. Just like with Cosmic Crisp®, Washington state growers will have a ten year exclusivity before the apple is considered for release in any foreign countries.
WA 64 is an attractive pink blushed apple with outstanding eating quality, being both firm and tasty. Sensory and instrumental evaluations of crispness, juiciness, and hardness show the exceptional eating characteristics of WA 64, which is slightly less hard but considerably more crisp and juicy than Cripps Pink. WA 64 also retains these excellent texture characteristics after more than six months of refrigerated storage. Sensory comparisons with Honeycrisp show that WA 64 is harder and has slightly less crispness and juiciness. Its sweetness and acidity are between those of its two parents. WA 64 fruit has a high pack-out, it is not sensitive to bruising and handles well on a commercial packing line. It has excellent retention of fruit flavor and firmness throughout storage.