While not in the same league as top apple-producing states such as Washington and New York, Maryland manages to produce millions of dollars’ worth of apples and other fruits each year. Most commercial growers operate their orchards west of the Chesapeake Bay, in a triangle bounded by Cecil County, the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Maryland’s fruits end up sold at farm stands, grocery stores, and processing plants, and being exported to Europe and Latin America.
Maryland orchards grow Red and Golden Delicious apples, which come to harvest between Sept. 10 and March 1. Early apples available in Maryland include Fuji and Goldrush, which begin to ripen around May 1. Summer apples, including Lodi, Summer Rambo, Paula Red and Gala, can begin to be picked for market between July 10 and Sept. 1. Fall and winter apples include Cortland, Jonagold, Empire, Red York, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Cameo, Pink Lady and Stayman Winesap, available for picking Sept. 10 and later.
Maryland produced 33.5 million pounds of apples in 2008 valued at $7.8 million, according to the Maryland Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
In 2008, Maryland’s peach trees produced almost 3,500 tons of fruit valued at $3.9 million, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reports. Peaches in Maryland orchards include Early Red Haven, available for picking beginning in mid-July, followed by Sentry, as well as August peaches such as Red Haven (a sweet, honey-flavored peach recommended for canning), Blake (an old-fashioned peach used for james and jellies due to its dark red flesh), White Lady, Mountain Rose, Sunhigh, Suncrest and Cresthaven. September peaches include Marqueen and Laurel.
Other Fruit Trees
Plum trees also flourish in Maryland, producing Methley and Shiro varieties beginning in July and Satsuma in August. Pear varieties include Harrows Delight and Harvest Queen, available in early August, and Bartlett, Magness, Seckel, Gorham and Bosc pears, available later in the month.
Some orchards also produce nectarines, the fuzzless cousin of the peach, available in July, August and September; and sweet cherries, available in June and July.