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New Washington apple needs a name

Apples, whole and sliced, are measured by a ruler on a gray surface.
Washington State University
Washington State Standard
Sliced WA 64 apples show the newly released variety’s yellow-pink skin and white interior. The WSU-bred apple has outstanding eating and storage qualities.

Washington has created a new apple variety – again. And its creators want you to name it.

WA 64 is a cross between a Honeycrisp and a Cripps Pink, also known as a Pink Lady. It’s small to medium in size, pink and yellow, and has “exceptional eating characteristics,” according to Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

Although the new fruit won’t be available in grocery stores until 2029, the university last week launched a contest to come up with a catchy name.

Feeling creative? You can enter online by May 5.

The winner will get a gift box that includes the new apples, a charcuterie board with the contest-winning name engraved, a can of Cougar Gold Cheese, WSU spice rubs, and a university-themed coffee cup and water bottle.

Name suggestions with some connection to the university or the state of Washington will be given preference, and researchers want something “memorable and punchy,” according to Jeremy Tamsen, director of innovation and commercialization at the college.

You must be at least 18 years old to enter, and no profanity, existing trademarks, references to illegal substances or mash-ups of the variety’s parents’ names will fly.

Here’s some background on the fruit to get the juices flowing.

A crisp crossover

The university first brought the Honeycrisp and Pink Lady together in 1998 at the Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. It’s recently been trialed at research orchards across the state. Trees will become widely available to growers in 2026, and the apple will hit grocery shelves in 2029.

The to-be-named variety takes on many characteristics of its parents.

It’s slightly softer but much more crisp and juicy than a Pink Lady. It’s harder but less crisp and juicy than a Honeycrisp.

Its background is yellow but between 40 to 70% of it is covered with a pink blush. “WA 64 is a great balance of tart and sweet, firm, crisp, and juicy,” Kate Evans, professor and head of WSU’s apple breeding program told the university earlier this week.

The apple will be exclusively grown in Washington for at least the next 10 years. Washington produces 70% of the country’s apples, according to the state Department of Agriculture. It’s also the state’s top crop, making up a more than $2 billion industry.

The new variety marks the apple breeding program’s 64th apple to make it this far. The program also created the Cosmic Crisp, which launched in 2019 and has become one of the most popular apple varieties in the country.

Washington State Standard is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Washington State Standard maintains editorial independence.

Laurel Demkovich is a reporter for the Washington State Standard.