City Cast

Maryland Invents Apple Varieties For the Future

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on November 8
apple stand

Apples galore at the Mount Pleasant farmers market. (Kaela Cote-Stemermann/City Cast DC)

Are you a Honeycrisp cruncher? Or a Macintosh muncher? Unfortunately, all our favorite apple varieties have something in common. They can’t handle the heat.

Apple production in the DMV, and around the world, has been trending downward largely due to frequent heat waves, as well as a destructive bacterial disease called fire blight.

Researchers at the University of Maryland, led by Chris Walsh, wanted to see if they could solve these problems. Eventually they came up with two new apple varieties, called MD-TAP1 (a mild yellow apple similar to Golden Delicious) and MD-TAP2 (a sweet red apple like a Fuji). I know, catchy names, right?

Apple picking

Gala are the most popular apple variety in the U.S. followed by Red Delicious and Honeycrisp. (Katherine DePalma/Hey DC Reader)

Not only are these apples built to survive in a hotter, drier world, but they are also fire blight-resistant, and on trees short enough to be easily harvested from the ground. Plus, these new apple trees take a lot less pruning, which means less equipment and effort for farmers.

The team doesn't know exactly when they’ll be available at local grocery stores, but Walsh says the researchers own orchards in Maryland will have them available for U-pick and in DMV farmers markets by fall 2026. So, we could be among the first to try these apples of the future.

Hey DC

Want to know what's happening in D.C.? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey DC. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Urban Almanac

See All

The latest in DC