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Fruit Program News

  • tree-ripe peaches

    Picking and handling tree-ripe peaches (2022)

    August 1, 2022

    Jon Clements Extension Tree Fruit Specialist, UMass Amherst

    Picking and handling tree ripe peaches (PDF)

    It is not necessary to wait for peaches to soften before they are tree-ripe.

    Here are a few pointers for picking tree-ripe peaches, and then for handling peaches when you get them home.

    When picking peaches in the orchard:

    • look for the absence of green skin/background color – any green will have changed to yellow (or white if it is a white-flesh peach) when the peach is tree-ripe; if there is still some green skin, let the peach stay on the tree to ripen more
    • bright red-orange skin color is a good sign of ripeness, however, it depends on the variety – some are very red-orange, some less so; a fully yellow/white background (no green) is still the best indicator of tree-ripeness on peaches that don’t have as much red-orange color
    • IF you must -- but please don't during the 2020 pandemic! -- squeeze the peach to assess ripeness, don’t squeeze too hard, that will result in an unsightly bruise
    • larger peaches ripen first and peaches in the tops of the trees also ripen first
    • a ripe peach will separate from the tree easily; if the peach is difficult to pick leave it on the tree to ripen longer

    Once you get your peaches home, here is the proper way to handle and fully ripen them:

    • Do not leave in any kind of plastic bag if that is what you picked into
    • Do not put the peaches in the sun or a hot room or car trunk – they will not ripen evenly
    • Do not put them in the refrigerator unless you want them not to ripen
    • Put the peaches on newspaper in a single layer not touching each other
    • Check to see as they start to soften by feeling them gently – don't push hard on them or they will bruise
    • When the fruit is soft, they are ripe and juicy, so ENJOY! Note this may takeseveral days.
    • This applies to peaches, nectarines, and plums too..
     Thanks to my good friend Annette Bjorge, Fruit Acres Farm, Coloma, MI for peach handling tips
  • Apple blossom cluster

    Summer Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates Internship with the UMass Extension Fruit Team

    April 6, 2022
    The UMass Extension Fruit Team is offering paid internship opportunities to undergaduate students. This internship opportunity brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers and Extension professionals from UMass Amherst to support undergraduate research and Extension training for a technology-enhanced agricultural science, applied research and Extension. We emphasize connecting research with practice in ways that support and promote the sustainability of local food production systems.
  • Network for Environment & Weather Applications logo

    NEWA 3.0 - what you need to know

    March 28, 2022
    If you have not looked at NEWA (Network for Environment & Weather Applications, since last year (or perhaps never?) you will notice a major change in the user interface now that NEWA 3.0 (as opposed to the ‘old’ NEWA or NEWA 2.0) is fully deployed. Here are some major enhancements and features you should know about to make NEWA more useful and user friendly. I call them my Top 10 NEWA Tips. Before I get to that though, a reminder NEWA is one decision support tool you can use and is not the final word. If in doubt, consult your crop consultant, agrichemical sales person, or UMass Extension for further advice.
  • Network for Environment & Weather Applications logo

    NEWA 3.0 Tutorial - Online Workshop

    January 29, 2022

    NEWA 3.0 Tutorial - Online Workshop
    February 7, 2022, 9am—12:30pm
    The new NEWA 3.0 system is online (, and 2022 will be the first year when you will not be able to use the old version. If you have not yet looked at the new website, or if you have looked at it but weren’t sure how to best use it, the “NEWA 3.0 Tutorial Online Workshop” is perfect for you.

    Register now:

    NEWA 3.0 Tutorial Flyer


  • 2022 Mass Aggie Seminars Series, Apples

    2022 Mass Aggie Seminars Announced!

    January 12, 2022
    Mass Aggie Fruit Seminars available to the public! Each year the UMass Extension Fruit Team offers a series of educational opportunities for home owners, small farms and fruit growing enthusiasts of all types. This year, as we continue to be cautious of the health concerns facing the world, we will be inviting you into our offices via Zoom to attend the live sessions, Saturday mornings from 10:30am to noon. This is you opportunity to join in and learn just about everything about blurberries, brambles and tree fruit that you ever wanted to know and so much more! *Some of our tree fruit sessions focus primarily on apples and much of the knowledge you learn about apples can be applied to many other tree fruits.
  • GLEXPO - Great Lakes Expo

    2021 GLEXPO Posters

    December 7, 2021
    At the 2021 Great Lakes Expo (GLEXPO) Jon Clements presented two posters on-site in Grand Rapids, MI. RECIPE - Predicting fruit set using the fruitlet growth rate model PRECISION CROP LOAD MANAGEMENT OF HONEYCRISP - Flower bud identification and precision pruning
  • Northeast Extension Fruit Consortium's 2022 Winter Webinar Series Announced

    November 19, 2021
    The Northeast Fruit Consortium launches its second annual FREE online educational series for fruit growers!
  • New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference "Light"

    October 30, 2021

    New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference 2021-Online Light!

    December 13-17, 2021

    Enjoy the New England Fruit and Vegetable Conference from the comfort of your own living room! The conference will be online this year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. The program will be a streamlined version of our usual in-person content, with one morning and one afternoon session per day for one week, December 13th-17th. Tree fruit, small fruit, and vegetables will all be covered, and pesticide and certified crop advisor credits will be available. Check out the schedule, speaker line up and registration here. We hope to see you online this December, and in person in December 2022!

    $50 registration fee gains you full access to the program and 3-months access to the recordings.

    Session Topics will include: Tillage Reduction Innovations, Climate Adaption Strategies on the Farm, Soil Health, Automation for Small Vegetable Growers, Inspirations from Away, 2 Berry Crop Sessions and 2 Tree Fruit Sessions as well as a session on Vegetable Disease and Pest Updates.


  • mfgalogo

    MFGA Summer Meeting - July 14, 2021

    July 14, 2021

    Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association Annual Summer Meeting

    Wednesday, July 14, 2021

    Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield, MA

    More information and register (by July 12) here:

  • June fruit twilight meetings

    June 5, 2021

    June fruit twilight meetings scheduled for Tuesday, June 8 at Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA and Tuesday, June 15 at Outlook Farm, Westhampton, MA. Meetings start at 5:30 PM, no pre-registration required. One pesticide recertification credit available and a light supper will be served. There is a $20 meeting fee (cash preferred) payable at the door for those receiving pesticide credit. For more information click here. Hope to see you there!