Handling and Merchandising

An attractive display of beautiful, ripe, aromatic fruit is the first step in a successful sales program. Follow these simple steps and the flavor of the fruit will bring them back for more!

All Stone Fruit

  • Before the fruit become fully ripe, they are extremely temperature-sensitive. There are two safe ranges in which to store stone fruit before ripening: either very cold (32°-35°F, 0°-1.7°C) or at room temperature (51°-77°F, 10.6°-25°C). Very cold temperatures are used for storage, as they put the ripening process on hold. Room temperature conditions allow ripening to continue. Temperatures in between these safe ranges (including typical cooler temperatures) are known as the “killing range,” and are dangerous to unripe stone fruit as they can cause chilling injury and internal breakdown. Once fruit is ripened, it can be safely stored at typical cooler temperatures.
  • Always display on non-refrigerated tables.
  • Don’t stack fruit more than two layers deep to avoid damage.
  • Rotate display frequently, moving ripest fruit to the front and culling overripe and damaged fruit.


White Flesh Peaches and Nectarines

White flesh varieties ripen more quickly and show bruising more easily than yellow flesh varieties. A little extra care with these delicate commodities will yield big rewards.

  • Fruit should be stored in the cooler but for as little time as possible. Storage temperatures in most coolers (36º – 46ºF) can still damage the fruit. If possible, time your deliveries so that all fruit can go straight to display.
  • Many customers prefer firm, crisp, white flesh peaches and nectarines so be sure your display has a good selection of both firm and soft fruit.



Plumcots can be a bit of a mystery to consumers. Help them discover the wide variety of exciting flavors available throughout the season. Always use the variety name in your signage. This helps the consumer understand that plumcots are not just “one thing.”

  • Display several varieties, accompanied by varietal signage whenever possible.
  • Samples are one of the most powerful selling tools available for plumcots. Whether it’s an organized demo, a silent demo dome, or random samples from a produce manager, tasting is believing!


Apricots and Apriums

With many varieties or apricots and apriums, the skin is the last part of the fruit to turn orange. Often, the flesh inside is at a perfect eating stage while the skin still has a slight green tinge. This presents a merchandising dilemma because consumers are naturally averse to buying fruit that’s even a little bit green. The simple solution is to let the fruit sit at room temperature in the backroom for a day or so. The natural ripening process allows the skin to color up and the flesh to get a little softer and more fragrant. Monitor the fruit closely, both in the back room and on the display. Apricots and apriums ripen very quickly and can go from “perfect” to shrink in a matter of days. Adjusting the size of your display to work with anticipated movement, orders and inventory is critical but will yield success if managed properly.

  • Ripen in backroom to achieve full color on skin
  • Display on dry tables, no more than 2 layers deep
  • Cull frequently, moving ripest fruit to front of display
  • On oversupply of fully ripe fruit (full color, soft and juicy) can safely be stored in cooler.



While blueberries are now available nearly year-round from various production areas, our blueberries are among the first U.S. berries available each year. This can be an important marketing approach – “New Crop California Blueberries!”

  • Display on refrigerated racks unless dry display has a very high turnover rate.
  • Store in cooler – keep as cool as possible. Ideal storage temp. is 33-34ºF
  • Cull frequently, moving ripest fruit to front of display
  • Blueberries are prized as much for their flavor as for their nutritional value. Utilize POS signage that hits both of these selling points.



  • Cherries generate an astounding $201 per square foot of display space – one of the highest rates of any item in the produce department
  • Display in a refrigerated dry rack
  • For storage, keep as cold as possible, ideally at 32°F (0°C) and 90-95% humidity, for freshness up to 10 days
  • Don’t stack bagged cherries in order to prevent crushing, aid air circulation and reduce breakdown
  • Avoid misting with water once in your store
  • Highlighting the nutritional benefits of cherries only adds to their appeal.
Family Tree Farms - Our Mission is to Consistently Produce, Package and Market the Most Flavorful Fruit in the World.