Allusionist 107. Apples

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Late 2019 will see the biggest apple launch of our lifetimes. 22 years in the making, ripening on millions of trees into picture-perfect redness, here comes the WA38, more snazzily known as the Cosmic Crisp. The name was the result of a year of focus groups, taste tests and word associations - a far cry from when apples were named after whichever end of a cat they resembled.

This episode, the latest in the Allusionist Food Season is a collaboration with The Sporkful podcast, where we have released companion episodes about apples: over here on the Allusionist, we find out about the naming of apples; and in the Sporkful episode ‘A New Apple Is Born’ we get into the particulars of how new apples are begotten.

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The transcript of this episode is at


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  • Dan Pashman hosts The Sporkful podcast, which you can find at, at the podplaces, and on Twitter @thesporkful.

  • Kate Evans is Associate Professor at Washington State University's Pome Fruit Breeding Program.

  • Kathryn Grandy is  Director of Marketing + Operations at Proprietary Variety Management.

  • Joanna Crosby is a food historian specialising in the economic and social history of the apple and the orchard during the late 19th century.

  • Thanks to The Sporkful production team: Harry Huggins, Anne Saini, Ngofeen Mputubwele and John DeLore. Also thanks to Dan Charles from NPR, who you can hear on the Sporkful applesode, and who has been reporting on the Cosmic Crisp.

  • This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick makes the music that you hear in every episode. Download his songs at and listen to his new podcast Year of the Bird about the songs he writes.

- HZ

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