If you are thinking about growing fruit trees or edible shrubs, here’s a list of where to get them in the Northeast.
Many places only deliver in spring, but I prefer to plant perennials in fall because you don’t have to painstakingly water them all summer.
One thing I considered in my decision is what USDA hardiness zone the trees were grown in. If the individual tree and its parental stock adapted to a climate similar to yours, it will be more familiar with your weather fluctuations. I don’t know how crucial this is, but I consider it when deciding where to get trees. But my current trees were raised two zones colder than Hamden CT, which is zone is 6b/7a, so we shall see how they do!
Here are my suggestions, in general order of personal preference:
Fedco: although they’re in Maine zone 5 and they only ship in spring, this company holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s their great selection, their excellent catalog, or the fact that their seeds always grow well for me, this is my first choice. While they are not organic, the consideration they give to sourcing and growing their plants/seeds shows that are thoughtful company.
Cricket Hill: can’t get better than right here in CT! They’re also super friendly and helpful. Their selection is odd because they occupy the niche of rare fruits, but they have some good stuff like persimmons and paw paws. Open year round for shipping and in person purchases, so you can plant in the fall.
Twisted Tree Nursery: also a small operation offering some cool trees, including discount bulk buying and seeds.
Cummins Nursery: great selection of classic fruits and they ship in the fall. Family owned and one USDA zone closer to us than Fedco. Not organic, and I don’t know their practices.
Edible Landscaping: a Virginia grower that ships in the fall, has a cool selection of things.
Adams County Nursery: the only place I’ve found with our exact hardiness zone. Seems like a massive organization, and they seem to specialize in hybrids preferred by commercial growers. Nothing wrong with that, I’m eyeing some hybrid nectarines, but you won’t find the quaint heirlooms of Fedco here. They often sell out, I think.
Trees of Antiquity: amazing and interesting selection but they’re out in California, ugh. Very far to ship and the trees grew up in a warmer climate (although that could be beneficial). They are the only fully organic grower on this list, and if you get a lot from them, the shipping becomes worth it.
Oikos Tree Crops: Gotta admit, I don't know anything about this place, but it looks cool. The person who stewards the Yale Food Forest told me about it, so I figured I would share.
Arbor Day: I think they sell fruit trees, but I don’t knowi where they source them from.
Stark Bro’s: they’re sort of a behemoth in the fruit world so I lean towards supporting the independents, but they do have a great selection and an organic line.
Shrubs and perennials:
Nourse Farms: in MA, they sell berry plants for spring planting.
Earthtones: in CT, they grow and sell native plants and shrubs. They don’t focus on edible plants but they do have some. Mostly they’re great for accent plants and adding natives to your garden. Plus it is a magical place to visit.
Natureworks: also in CT. A full service garden center so they also have annual vegetable plants in spring. They have perennials, fruiting shrubs, and they can special order trees. They encourage fall planting so they’re usually well stocked in fall in addition to spring.
I may be missing some places, but I’ve done some extensive research, including buying things from many of these growers, and they all seem pretty good!
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