University of Maryland scientists have developed red and yellow varieties of apples that are heat resistant, which will become increasingly important as the planet continues to warm. Professor Emeritus Chris Walsh, who helped to develop the apples: “These apples were bred for direct-to-consumer sales. They’re not meant for the big chain stores to be shipped and stored for months.”
Heat resistance is a big win for the project, as Earth’s temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. High heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, a warming South, and shorter winters in the north and east could strain apple production as well, university researchers report.
What’s more, apple picking is a hands-on job, but there aren’t as many hands to go around. “From 2016 to 2021, average annual crop production employment fell by 3% and, in apple orchards specifically, it declined by 22%,” according to USApple, an organization monitoring industry statistics.
The new varieties from Maryland are meant to alleviate some of the labor trouble.