Research, Teaching and Outreach
Cornell Orchards, founded in 1910, supports 10 to 15 research projects each year. Currently there are 17 acres of apples, grapes, stone fruits and berries in active research, including one certified organic acre. The overall goal of these projects is to support a growing fruit industry and provide consumers with healthy, tasty, high-quality fruit.
The Orchards also serves as a living laboratory to hundreds of Cornell students every year, giving future generations of growers and researchers hands-on experience with virtually all aspects of fruit production. Teaching focus areas include pomology (growing apples, pears and other fruit), viticulture (growing grapes), enology (making wine), orchard management, and agricultural engineering.
Every fall, more than a 1,000 schoolchildren visit the Orchards to taste apples, see how cider is made, and learn where fruit comes from. Hundreds of visitors, including fruit growers and professionals from local wineries and cideries, visit the Orchards each year for special events.
- Optimize flavors and aromas in wine grapes, and improve both the environmental and economic sustainability of wine grape production systems in cool climates.
Researcher: Justine Vanden Heuvel
- Develop fruit production systems that facilitate the long-term economic and environmental viability of commercial tree-fruit growers, with a particular focus on hard cider production.
Researcher: Greg Peck
- Develop sustainable production methods for berry crops, including the use of high and low tunnels for season extension in colder climates.
Researcher: Marvin Pritts
- Extend the storage life of apples; prevent damage to the fruit while maintaining the nutritional quality.
Researcher: Chris Watkins
- Promote sustainable landscapes through a better understanding of tree root biology and provide a teaching resource for below-ground processes in plants.
Researcher: Taryn Bauerle
- Understand how the metabolism in apples and grapes responds to carbon and nitrogen, and provide guidelines for fertilizer applications in orchards and vineyards.
Researcher: Lailiang Cheng
An additional 27 acres includes plantings of peaches, cherries and pears, novelty fruits such as hardy kiwis and pawpaws, chestnuts, and of course a plethora of old and new apple varieties. Several apple trees at the Orchards are over 100 years old and still thriving.
Students, faculty and staff appreciate the farm-fresh apples, house-made cider and other fruit, grown right next to campus and served in the Cornell dining rooms. Apples and other products are also available at the Orchard Store.