Q: How do you ripen fruit?

First try to find SUMMERIPE® or I M RIPE® peaches, plums, and nectarines in your local produce department. This fruit is ripened before it is cooled and shipped so that when you take the fruit home, it is sweet, juicy and ready to eat.
If the fruit you purchase is not as ripe as you prefer, it's easy to ripen firm peaches, plums or nectarines. Just place the fruit in a paper bag, fold the top over loosely, and keep it at room temperature for 1-3 days. Check the fruit daily. Tip: never use a plastic bag; it may cause decay and can produce off-flavors.
Once fruit is soft, or ripe, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or more. Tip: never place firm, or unripe, fruit in the refrigerator as it may inhibit the ripening process and can cause the fruit to become dry, mealy and flavorless. 
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Q: When is a peach plum or nectarines ready to eat?

When buying peaches and nectarines, look for deep yellow background color. The amount of red color varies by variety and is not an indication of ripeness or quality.
When buying plums, look for a slight “give” when squeezed and a fragrant plum aroma. Plums come in a large range of colors that vary by variety so little “give” and a good smell are better indicators of ripeness than color alone.
Since everybody’s taste is different, once you have purchased your fruit, you can ripen to your taste as described above.
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Q: What does a good peach, plum, or nectarine taste like?

A good piece of fruit tastes different to different people. Gordon Wiebe, co-owner of Wiebe Farms likes his peaches and nectarines firm, just before they get soft. Karen, his wife, likes her peaches and nectarines sweet and juicy. Ryan Sawatzky, our packing shed manager, likes his peaches and nectarines hard and crunchy. Richard Sawatzky, co-owner of Wiebe Farms his plums to be very sweet. What we all agree on is that we do not like our fruit to be green, bland, dry, or mealy.

Q: What causes fruit to be green, bland, dry, or mealy?

Green fruit is fruit that is picked before it is ready. This is generally caused by growers that are greedy and can’t wait until the fruit is ready is ready to be picked. If you put this fruit in a bag to ripen, it will shrivel. If the peach, plum, or nectarine you are about to buy has a green background color, don’t buy it. Bland, dry, and mealy fruit is generally caused by improper storage after it leaves the packing shed. Fruit that is stored before it is fully ripened between 36° and 50° will become bland and turn dry and mealy. This temperature range is called the “kill zone”. More Info

Q: How do you know when to pick a peach plum or nectarine?

Over the years just about everything has changed in our farming operation, but one thing has not changed since Eve picked that piece of fruit in the Garden of Eden many years ago. The Bible says she picked the fruit that was “a delight to her eye”. Today, we pick the fruit when it is a “delight to our eyes”. We pick the fruit that looks ready and then we cut it and taste it to see if it is ready. Once we know what we are “looking” for, we show our pickers fruit that is ready to pick and fruit that is too green to pick so that they know what they are “looking” for. If a picker starts picking fruit that is green, our crew bosses “show” the picker what the fruit should “look” like and the picker then “looks” for riper fruit and leaves the greener fruit for a later picking.

Q: How many times is a tree picked?

We pick our trees 1 to 6 times with 1 to 7 days between picking. There are many variables that go into deciding when and how many times to pick. Age and strength of tree, previous weather, today’s weather, and tomorrow’s weather, condition of fruit, how other fruit is ripening, color, taste, firmness, day of the week (we do not harvest on Sunday), crew availability, work load, and is the fruit ready to be picked. Generally the later we get into the season, the more times we will pick a variety and the longer the time will be between picks.

Q: How many years does a tree produce fruit?

Our fruit trees will produce their first small crop during their third year. They will produce good crops for another 12- 15 years. Then we will remove the trees and plant new ones and wait 3 years for those to produce.


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