History & Philosophy

The Orchard With a Difference

The UMass Cold Spring Orchard is a research facility of UMass Amherst, is a place to buy delicious fruit, and is a great spot to enjoy a spectacular view of the Holyoke Mountain Range.

Located at the site of the spring that gave Belchertown its original name–Cold Spring–the orchard is on property that was once Hanifin Farm/Bay State Dairy Farm. When the University of Massachusetts looked to the research orchard on the Amherst campus as a site for new dormitories, the fruit growers of Massachusetts began looking for a new site for this important research. On December 28, 1961, the Massachusetts Fruit Growers' Association, Inc. completed the purchase of the Hanifin Farm. In June of 1962, the farm was donated to the University free and clear. J.W. Lederle, then president of the University, called the gift "a positive demonstration of faith on the part of the fruit industry, and confidence in further important scientific contributions." F.W. Southwick, then head of the Department of Horticulture, said, "It shows that growers consider research important enough that they want to insure uninterrupted work." Renovations of the old buildings and new plantings of apple trees began very soon after the donation.

Since that time, much research has been conducted, many students have learned fruit-growing practices, and many commercial orchardists have observed and adopted state-of-the-art management systems. The focus of the research from the beginning to the present, has been to find better ways to grow fruit in Massachusetts, including the testing of new varieties, the evaluation of more efficient horticultural techniques, and the development of more environmentally friendly management approaches.

First called the University of Massachusetts Horticultural Research Center, we have since renamed this research farm the University of Massachusetts Cold Spring Orchard Research and Education Center to acknowledge the historical importance of the site.

Learn more about UMass Cold Spring Orchard

  • 100+ varieties
  • Environmentally friendly fruit production
  • When you buy fruit, you support this research and education facility
  • Come to the orchard, enjoy the view, bring a picnic
  • McIntosh, Red Delicious, Cortland, Macoun, to name a few of the standard varieties available
  • Shamroch & Honeycrisp, to name just a couple of the newest varieties available