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Fruit Tree Ripening Dates

At our home orchard in Upstate New York, apple season begins with Yellow Transparent in late July and ends with Goldrush in November. However, if Cummins Nursery were in Sacramento, CA, we would likely be harvesting Pristine in mid-July and Goldrush in late October. For this reason we do not supply absolute ripening dates for each variety in our web store.

Instead, the ripening date of each variety of apple is pegged to the ripening of McIntosh, so that our customers will more easily be able to estimate when a specific variety will ripen in their own area. All they need to know is the ripening date of McIntosh wherever they live.

The way we describe the ripening date of Yellow Transparent, for example, is -49. This means that it ripens about 49 days before McIntosh. As for Goldrush, its ripening date is +56, or 56 days after McIntosh. McIntosh itself is, of course, +0 (which is the same as -0, but this is philosophical).

Similarly, all peaches are pegged to a specific peach variety, and all plums to a specific plum variety, etc. Below you will find a list of the benchmark fruits for each species and the dates that these ripen in upstate NY. Remember: the ripening date of the benchmark varieties will vary across the country.

SpeciesBenchmark VarietyApproximate Ripening Date of Benchmark Variety in Ithaca, NY
AppleMcIntoshSeptember 15
PearBartlettAugust 20
PeachRedhavenAugust 8
PlumStanleySeptember 1
ApricotHarcotJuly 20
Tart CherryMontmorencyJuly 5
Sweet CherryBingJune 20

As ever, the ripening dates for any variety are intended as approximations only. The same tree will ripen at slightly different times year by year. These fluctuations are largely the result of differences in yearly weather patterns. Finally, it is important to note that some varieties ripen all at once, in the course of about a week, e.g. Chenango Strawberry and William’s Pride, while other varieties will ripen gradually over an extended period, e.g. Pixie Crunch.

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