(FISHERS, NY) ― New York state’s apple harvest is on schedule and will officially get underway Aug. 15, the state’s apple growers have reported. They say this year’s crop will be a strong encore to last year’s vintage crop; meanwhile, an all-new consumer website has just launched to help build buzz about the crop.
Growers forecasted the 2014 crop at 30 million bushels during a statewide conference call July 25 hosted by New York Apple Association. That forecast is slightly smaller than last year’s vintage crop of 32 million bushels, but above the state’s five-year average of 29.5 million bushels as new plantings begin to produce fruit. The final accounting of the crop may be larger, as fruit continues to size leading up to harvest.
Growers from across the state report excellent growing conditions this year, beginning with a late spring and near-perfect pollination weather. They report ample summer sun and the right amount of rain. As a result, fruit size will trend large, with high sugar levels. They also report there will be abundant supplies of consumer-favorite varieties, including Honeycrisp and, Gala, and New York’s own Empire and McIntosh.
“Knock on bin wood, Mother Nature has smiled on us two years in a row,” said NYAA President Jim Allen. “Harvest is on time, we have plenty of bins and storage, and we are getting strong retail support in our key markets – all in all, we are off to a good start and have high expectations.”
NYAA is urging New Yorkers to support their state’s growers by buying local – apples, cider, juice and other apple products – from pick-your-own and farm markets, to favorite local grocers.
“We grow more apples than anyone east of the Mississippi, so New Yorkers don’t need to look any further than right here to find great apples,” said NYAA President Jim Allen. “Our motto of ‘millions of local branches near you’ is spot on.”
To help build buzz for the crop, NYAA has just unveiled an overhauled consumer website at www.nyapplecountry.com. The website prominently features locator maps to connect New Yorkers with local orchards and farm markets. It also includes profiles of dozens of top New York state varieties, and almost 100 recipes. A large Nutrition section is introduced by NYAA Consulting Dietitian Linda Quinn, MS, RDN. The association has also been posting crop updates on its Facebook page since bloom.
“We know that a strong website and social media channels are necessities to connect with today’s consumers, so we are making sure that we are there for them,” said Allen.
Harvest will begin on or around Aug. 15 with early-season varieties including Ginger Gold and Paula Red, and will end in November with late-season varieties such as McIntosh. Harvest will get underway first in the lower Hudson Valley, and march northward to the upper Champlain Valley over coming weeks.
“Buyers should contact your shippers now to find out what they will have available, and to plan your apple promotions,” said Allen.