Illinois designated the goldrush apple as official state fruit in 2008. Goldrush apples are a cross of golden delicious and an experimental variety of apple (Co-op 17) developed by the disease-resistant apple breeding program of the University of Illinois, Purdue University and Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Mark Richardson's fourth-grade class of Woodlawn Elementary School initiated this legislation after learning that Illinois was one of the few states that did not recognize a state fruit. After doing research and discovering the part played by the University of Illinois in developing the goldrush apple, they contacted Senator John Jones, who was the primary sponsor of the bill. Illinois also recognizes an official state snack food - popcorn (see food symbols for all states).
Goldrush apples are long-keeping and have a delicious sweet-tart taste. The name "goldrush" refers to the golden color and the "rush" of rich, spicy flavor. A properly stored goldrush apple will keep its crisp, firm texture and complex flavor for at least seven months. The skin of a goldrush apple is greenish-yellow with occasional bronze to red blush at harvest (which turns to solid deep yellow in storage).