Frequently Asked Questions
We usually have 1 peck drawstring bags of utility grade apples available after Columbus Day at a cheaper price. Many of our utility grade apples are used to produce our cider, so they are unavailable for sale at our store at the beginning of the apple harvest season. Please ask the staff at our Retail Stand for more details about availability of utility grade apples.
We only allow farmers to come and collect drops for farm animals. This is only allowed after the harvest crew has gone through that particular block and picked all of the apples off of the tree. Farmers can inquire about apple drop availability and a time will be scheduled for them to collect drops Monday thru Friday 8:30-4 pm, no weekends or holidays. The general public is no longer allowed to collect drops as the risk of becoming sick from eating rotten apples is too high.
No, we do not allow people to pick their own peaches. Peaches and peach trees are much more fragile than apples. The fruit must be handled very carefully or they can be easily bruised and damaged. The wood of a peach tree is much weaker than that of an apple tree causing limbs to break easily if climbed. We open up various blocks of apples to pick your own throughout the harvest season usually beginning the second week in September and ending the third week in October.
Sorry, UMass employees and students do not receive a discount.
Please call the orchard (413) 323-6647 and leave a detailed message with your name, contact information and the volume you will be buying and our wholesale manager will contact you.
We do donate apples to various non-profit groups and events. We require that groups show proof of being a non-profit group with a Form 990 at time of pick up. Donation amounts are limited and we like to be fair to everyone who asks for a donation so we ask that groups limit their request to 4 bushels or less. Groups interested in requesting a donation should contact our Donation Coordinator, Dawn Winkler.
Yes, the Cold Spring Orchard is owned by the University of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Fruit Growers back in the 1960’s saw a need for a research apple facility to be moved off the Amherst campus. A trust was set up and the old Hanifan Dairy farm was bought in Belchertown, MA, as the new location for this research facility. The Mass Fruit Growers then donated the farm to the University of Massachusetts to be run as a research facility for the Massachusetts fruit industry.
No, our prices for pick your own apples are the same as the prices we charge at our retail stand.
Our cider is not pasteurized. Pasteurization requires that cider be heated, which changes the flavors and characteristics of cider. Instead we use a modern technology that utilizes ultraviolet light, not heat, to kill bacteria but maintains the quality taste and characteristics of a traditional cider.
Our fruit is not organically grown. Instead, we practice Integrated Pest Management.
Please refer to our apple availability calendar.
We do not sell fruit trees but there are many nurseries that you could mail order fruit trees. Here are just a few:
PO Box 1800, Louisiana, MO 6333
10662 Slaght Road, Wolcott, NY 14590
26 Nursery Road, PO Box 108, Aspers, PA 7304
There are many reasons that there are apples on the ground around the orchard. During harvest, apples that are not colored well, have disease or insect damage or are too small; are dropped by the harvest crew, rather than making it into the apple bin. This is a way that apples are pre-sorted before being brought up to the building.
There is a great deal of research that takes place throughout the orchard. Apple trees are evaluated on a number of levels. One of these is to evaluate a trees ability to hold fruit. The dropped fruit are counted and included in much of the research data that is collected.
Apples that end up on the ground are not wasted. Many times farmers come to collect the apple drops to feed to livestock. If apples are not picked up, they are mowed at the end of the season and help to fertilize next year’s crop.