When you buy fruit, you help research
Profits of fruit sales from the UMass Cold Spring Orchard along with State moneys, contributions from commercial orchardists, and grants from the Massachusetts Fruit Growers' Association are used to manage our research and education facility.
Scientists study ways to grow more tree fruit in less space, compare the ability of varieties of fruit to resist disease and insects, and search for ways to reduce the amount of potentially hazardous chemicals used in growing fruit.
If you walk around the orchard, you may notice that some of the apple trees are large and are spaced far apart while others are smaller and closer together. The smaller trees represent the high-efficiency method of growing tree fruit like apples, peaches, and pears. Their fruit can be harvested more easily and more of these trees can be planted on less land.
The orchard is also a good place to experiment with non-chemical methods of controlling pests.. One experiment has eliminated the need to spray insecticides to control the apple maggot fly which lays its eggs in the fruit, when hung in the trees, sticky, sweet-smelling red spheres resembling apples are very successful in capturing these flies.
Other research has studied orchard spiders and their eating habits, looking for ways to encourage these natural predators of insect pests. As a result care is now taken not to use sprays that might harm the spiders.
Visit the UMASS Fruit Advisor for more information.