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Fruit and Vegetable Growers Striving for the Best



Exciting Apple News! 


    In the early 1990s, apple growers were reeling from the Alar scare and searching for varieties to replace Red Delicious and Stayman.  One promising new variety was Gala,

which Dr. Art Thompson called the best new variety he had ever tested.  Gala had something that most new varieties lacked; it could ripen and remain firm in hot weather.

Unfortunately, it matures before Labor Day, making it too early to replace Red and Golden Delicious.


     As the University of Maryland trialed many new varieties, it also noticed an unexpected problem, fireblight. In addition to being susceptible to fireblight, Gala and Fuji are also excessively vigorous trees requiring heavy annual pruning.

To create grower-friendly trees for Maryland, Chris Walsh launched an apple breeding program at Keedysville, Maryland.

After three decades and two generations of breeding and

selection, three new apple varieties were patented: Antietam Blush,




Why are the varieties patented in 2023 named MD-TAP1 and 2? 

MD-TAP is an abbreviation for the Maryland Tree Architecture Project 

to identify and patent grower-friendly trees.  We were interested in finding trees with “scion-dwarfing,” characterized by shorter internodes and fewer crossing limbs to reduce hand-pruning needs. 

These trees have also shown fewer fireblight strikes, good productivity, fruit size and flavor.  

In addition to breeding and selecting these new apple tree varieties at Keedysville, The University of Maryland launched a series of research trials at university farms in Maryland, Michigan and


In 2023 UMD also established trial plantings at two Maryland orchards, one on G890 and the other on G11 rootstock.


While Antietam Blush is available from Cummins Nursery and Adams County Nursery, the University has not licensed the MD-TAP1 and MD-TAP2 to any nursery.

If you are interested in participating in a field trial or planting a block, contact Dr. Chris Walsh by email at, or contact a local your nursery tree supplier.

To learn more about these trees, Dr. Walsh will be speaking about them at the MAFVC on Wednesday!


New Online Course for Maryland Cottage Food Producers & On-Farm Home Processors

Register here:

For questions or needing accommodation contact:
Dr. Shauna Henley,


The membership year runs from January 1st to December 31st.  Membership dues are collected during the registration process for the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.  For those seeking membership after the convention click here... for more information.


Tree Assistance Program (TAP) is to provide financial assistance to qualifying orchardists to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes, and vines that were damaged by natural disasters. To learn more about this program and eligibility, click here for more info >>


Click here to access handouts >>


Click on the links below:

Horticultural Technology Newsletter

Spotted Wing Drosophila Monitoring and Management 
University of Maryland Fact Sheet 1023, November 2015



Click on the links below:
Maryland Apples

Maryland's Best
National Peach Council
University of Maryland Extension: Grapes and Fruit
University of Maryland: Aronia
Mid-Atlantic Aronia Growers Association


Bay Area Fruit School  (link to presentations & videos) 
Western Maryland Regional Fruit Meeting (presentations)

Something New!

The FarcuhLab has started a YouTube channel for you to subscribe and follow!

The Farcuh Fruit Quality Lab's channel showcases latest research and extension activities for improving fruit quality, nutritional value, shelf-life capacity, safety and marketability throughout fruit development, harvest and postharvest storage. The Farcuh Lab 's mission is to find novel strategies to decrease fruit loss/waste, support environmental sustainability and, at the same time, enhance fruit consumption by meeting consumers’ expectations.

To view these videos use the tab below.



Apple Maturity Assessments for the Mid-Atlantic

We do the lab work so you don’t have to.

The determination of apple harvest maturity and optimal harvest dates can be achieved by using different maturity indices.

We take measurements of percent blush apple skin, skin chlorophyll content (DA index), fruit firmness, starch content, soluble solids and titratable acidity.

These measurements are performed weekly using different apple cultivars throughout the course of the season. To subscribe to the weekly updates use the tab below. 

 2024 - 2025
MSHS Executive Board Officers

Hallie Butler-Van Horn, President

Brad Miller, 1st VP

Daniel Heyser, 2nd Vice President

Bob Black, Treasurer

Haley Sater,  Secretary

Board members are 

Paul Jackson

Stephen Milburn

Trevor Hoff

Emily Moore

2019 Summer Tour visiting Arterra     Photo Credit:Christopher Black

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