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Greg Peck

Assistant Professor

  • Tree-Fruit Horticulture

Ph.D., Horticulture, 2009. Cornell University

M.S., Horticulture, 2004. Washington State University

B.S., Comparative Religion, 1994. University of Vermont

My research addresses the challenges of producing tree fruits sustainably and profitably within Virginia. My work crosses disciplinary fields, and I often collaborate with colleagues in soil science, entomology, food science, plant pathology, agricultural economics, and agricultural education.

My past research examined organic, integrated fruit production (IFP), and conventional apple orchards using a systems-based approach. This means that I managed experimental orchards under these production systems and then compared and contrasted various features of the orchard agroecosystem. For example, within these projects I measured crop productivity, insect and disease control efficacy and damage, soil quality and soil ecology, fertilizer and groundcover management practices, the maturity, phytochemical, and sensory quality of fruit, economic viability, and environmental impacts. The broad scope of my research allows me to study fruit production from many different perspectives.

Currently, I am forwarding the on-going research projects at the AHS, Jr. AREC that look at improving crop-load management in apples through the application of exogenous chemicals and developing a better understanding of the interactions between environmental effects and plant growth regulators. I am also collaborating with colleagues at the Center to evaluate the performance of crack resistant sweet cherry varieties and apple rootstocks under Virginia conditions.

In addition, I have a strong interest in value-added products and niche crops, such as hard cider and perry, native fruits, and heirloom fruit varieties.

In my extension work, I aspire to engage stakeholders in a dialogue that fosters critical thinking and active participation in understanding a given situation. I enjoy working with a wide-range of stakeholders, from highly experienced to new farmers, large to small scale, singly focused to highly diversified, and who use a range of management practices on their farms. I aim to help growers maximize the profitability and productivity of their current production systems, and explore new opportunities for Virginia’s farmers.

    A Grower’s Guide to Organic

Recently, I co-authored and published A Grower’s Guide to Organic Apples, a science-based extension publication that compiles and distills information from university research trials, making the essential components of organic apple production available to growers, extension educators, crop consultants, researchers, and others who desire to produce organic apples. The Guide includes seventeen chapters and three appendices that describe organic certification regulations, site selection and orchard design, disease resistant rootstocks and cultivars (nearly 50 disease-resistant apple cultivars are listed), soil fertility and ground-cover management, crop-load management, organically approved pesticides, key pests and diseases, harvest and post-harvest handling, and estimated costs of production. A Grower’s Guide to Organic Apples is available as a free download.

In combination with traditional outreach methods, I aim to make technology a strong component of my extension programming. For example, Web-based instructional videos are proving to be an effective tool for providing a decentralized audience with accurate research-based information. Engaging stakeholders through interactive applications, such as wikis, blogs, and social networking tools may help stimulate peer-to-peer conversations thereby making extension education and information more accessible to a diverse audience.

Please visit my website again soon to learn more about my upcoming outreach activities.

  1. Peck, G.M., I.A. Merwin, J.E. Thies, R.R. Schindelbeck, and M.G. Brown. 2011. Soil properties change during the transition to integrated and organic fruit production systems in a New York orchard. Applied Soil Ecology. 48:18-30.
  2. Peck, G.M. and I.A. Merwin. 2010. Multi-level comparisons of organic and integrated fruit production systems for ‘Liberty’ apple in New York. Acta Horticulturae¬—Sustainability Through Integrated and Organic Horticulture. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 873:57-66.
  3. Peck, G.M., I.A. Merwin, M.G. Brown, and A.M. Agnello. 2010. Integrated and organic fruit production systems for ‘Liberty’ apple in the Northeast USA: a systems-based evaluation. HortScience 45(7):1038-1048.
  4. Peck, G.M. and I.A. Merwin. 2009. A Grower’s Guide to Organic Apples. NYS IPM Publication #223, Geneva, NY. 64 pp. Available at:
  5. Peck, G.M., I.A. Merwin, C.B. Watkins, K.W. Chapman, and O. Padilla-Zakour. 2009. Maturity and quality of ‘Liberty’ apple fruit under integrated and organic fruit production systems are similar. HortScience 44(5):1382-1389.
  6. Merwin, I.A., A. Farkas, M.G. Brown, and G.M. Peck. 2009. Establishment, productivity, cross-compatibility and pollen vectors for 28 pawpaw cultivars in upstate New York. HortScience 44(4):1016 (abstr.).
  7. Peck, G.M., J.E. Thies, and I.A. Merwin. 2009. Soil microbial community composition under integrated and organic apple systems in a New York orchard. HortScience 44(1081): (abstr.).
  8. Peck, G.M. and I.A. Merwin. 2008. Organic and integrated apple production systems for the Northeastern U.S.: four years of research from the ground up. HortScience 43(4):1111 (abstr.).
  9. Peck, G.M., I.A. Merwin, E. Vollmer, and K. Averill. 2006. Multi-level comparisons of organic (OFP) and integrated fruit production systems for ‘Liberty’ apple in a New York orchard. HortScience 41(4):1032 (abstr.).
  10. Peck, G.M., P.K. Andrews, J.P. Reganold, and J.K. Fellman. 2006. Apple orchard productivity and fruit quality under organic, conventional, and integrated management. HortScience. 41(1):99-107.
  11. Peck, G.M., P.K. Andrews, C. Richter, and J.P. Reganold. 2005. Internationalization of the organic fruit market: the case of Washington State’s organic apple exports to the European Union. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 20(2):101-112.
  12. Peck, G. and P. Andrews. 2002. Marketing organic fruit within the European Union. Good Fruit Grower 53(13):47 (Aug. 2002).
    Greg Peck