Back to top

Fruit Program News

  • tree-ripe peaches

    Picking and handling tree-ripe peaches (2020)

    August 10, 2020

    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
  • MA Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program Announced

    June 10, 2020
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has launched a grant program to support farms and other food businesses and institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Fruit Resources

    April 30, 2020


  • Update from UMass Extension on COVID-19 Impacts on Services and Resources

    March 20, 2020
    Some UMass Extension Services will be interrupted due to COVID-19: Hot water seed treatment service is currently suspended, Soil and Diagnostic Labs closed until further notice!
  • Mass Aggie Seminars 2020 CANCELLED

    March 16, 2020
    Mass Aggie Workshops CANCELLED.
  • 26th Annual March Message to Massachusetts Tree Fruit Growers (2019)

    March 5, 2020


  • apple floral bud

    New Fruit Fact Sheet: FR-H-1-2020: Precision crop load management of Honeycrisp: flower bud identification and precision pruning

    February 26, 2020

    New Fruit Fact Sheet: FR-H-1-2020: Precision crop load management of Honeycrisp: flower bud identification and precision pruning. Jon Clements and Win Cowgill. Why precision-prune Honeycrisp? What is precision pruning? Flower buds vs. non-flower buds – identification. Precision prune and follow-up.

  • Home Orchard Pruning

    2020 Mass Aggie Workshop Series Announced

    January 16, 2020
    2020 Mass Aggie Worshop series details now available.
  • sdwsinstall2

    New Farmers’ Network Weather Station at UMass Research Farm

    December 14, 2019
    When the decade-old weather station at the UMass Crop and Animal Research and Education Farm in South Deerfield was hit by lightning this past summer, the impact of that loss was felt by the region’s growers. This November, UMass fruit extension educators Jon Clements and Liz Garofalo replaced the decade-old defunct weather station with a new one...
  • nevfcfinallogo2019

    2019 New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference

    November 13, 2019
    Registration is now open for the 2019 New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference and Trade Show (NEVFC), which will take place December 10-12, 2019 at the Doubletree Hotel, 700 Elm St, Manchester, NH in Manchester NH. The program features over 30 educational sessions over 3 days, covering vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops and various special topics. Farmer-to-farmer sessions bring speakers and farmers together for informal discussion, and our extensive trade show has over 120 exhibitors.