Good Fruit Grower

June 2016

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Page 23 of 47

T he fi rst WA 38 trees will be planted for com- mercial production next year. The fi rst fruit won't be in the hands of consumers until at least 2019, but a coalition of Washington's biggest fruit marketers is coming together to ensure that consumers will want and buy the apple branded Cosmic Crisp — and come back for more. The stakeholders in this venture are many, from uni- versity researchers to growers, packers and sales compa- nies, to retailers and consumers. And the stakes are high — no more so than for the growers who face the highest fi nancial risk on an untried variety. Washington State University bred the WA 38 apple and, after years of orchard trials, hired Proprietary Variety Management to handle the commercial rollout: patent, licensing, propagation and sales through several of the nurseries that make up the Northwest Nursery Improvement Institute, and branding and marketing. "When you're looking to benefi t all the stakeholders, the longer Cosmic Crisp has value to the consumer, the more value goes into the pockets of the stakeholders. And that's the key. That's what any business venture is about with customers," John Reeves, PVM's general manager, told Good Fruit Grower. And because growers have the highest risk, Yakima- based PVM has worked hard to have the industry heavily involved, whether it's a marketing group or a standards committee, he said. "If I was a grower, I've got to have the confi dence in the system," he said. "We want to min- imize the risk." WA 38 trees will be exclusive to Washington growers in the United States for at least 10 years, beginning in 2017, when the fi rst commercial orchards are planted. Any Washington packer and marketer can be licensed to pack and sell Cosmic Crisp apples; licensed Washington grow- ers must send their Cosmic Crisp apples to a licensed packer, and licensed packers must sell their apples to a licensed marketer. Cosmic Centerpiece Fruit marketers band together to develop quality standards for Cosmic Crisp. by Shannon Dininny Setting sights on the consumer 24 JUNE 2016 Good Fruit Grower Continued on page 28

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