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NYAA says 2018 crop is ‘well on its way from blossom to awesome!’

Cynthia Haskins, chief executive officer of the New York Apple Association, headquartered in Fishers, NY, said the 2018 crop of New York apples is “well on its way from blossom to awesome!”

She noted that this spring, orchards across the state — from western New York to Hudson Valley and the Lake Champlain Region — have benefited from favorable weather.

“There’s been ample sun, average temperatures and appropriate moisture,” said Haskins. “The fruit will spend the summer sizing up and coloring on the trees, and start flowing to the market in August.”

The continual and rapid expansion of the apple category can be a challenge, and New York’s wide array of apple varieties and extraordinary flavor offer retailers a compelling solution to the dilemma.

IMG-2114The 2018 crop of New York apples is ‘well on its way from blosson to awesome,’ according to Cynthia Haskins, chief executive officer of the New York Apple Association.“By sourcing New York apples, retailers can make the category especially profitable,” explained Haskins. “We offer both selection —there are 26 new and classic varieties to choose from —and a consistent and superior taste experience across all varieties. For generations, apple lovers and experts have referred to New York as Apple Country because of its unique mix of geography, climate and glacial soils. These elements come together naturally in New York, and in precise measure, to continually produce exceptional and superior flavor across all varieties grown here.”

SnapDragon and RubyFrost are new varieties exclusive to New York growers, but other popular varieties, like SweeTango and Honeycrisp, are grown in the state, along with born-in-New York varieties like Acey Mac, Autumn Crisp, Cortland, Empire, Fortune, Jonagold, Jonamac and Macoun. Other state-grown classic varieties, including McIntosh, Fuji and Gala have distinctive flavors that come only from New York.

Cornell University, a world-renowned epicenter for apple breeding, is located in the heart of New York Apple Country. Haskins said it always has something new in progress.

“And our growers continually perfect their craft,” she added. “We engage with them in issues of importance, such as food safety.”

NYAA recently sponsored a workshop featuring experts in food safety and Listeria biology, monitoring, control and equipment cleaning and sanitizing as part of a first-of-its kind program exclusively for New York apple growers.

“The workshop was spurred by our industry’s response to a potential food-safety disaster,” noted Haskins. “Titled, Controlling Listeria in Apple Packinghouses, it was coordinated by Cornell University. Training was hosted by Empire Fruit Growers, and every packinghouse in western New York participated.”

Haskins serves on the advisory council for the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University, which takes a comprehensive approach to providing training and conducting applied research to support the food industry — from farm to fork — to reduce foodborne illness risks.

As with all issues of interest, the NYAA is also keenly aware of how consumers are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it is grown.

“New York apple growers have a logistical advantage to being close to a major distribution hub like New York City,” Haskins pointed out. “We are also within a day’s drive to several nearby cities. In addition, there are many cities, towns and neighborhoods scattered throughout the state where consumers are all eager to bite into a New York apple.

“Hunts Point is a major distribution hub that serves as a great backdrop for New York apple growers,” she continued. “The wholesalers ship locally, regionally and nationally, and many have links with generational New York apple shippers. They serve our industry well.”

New York apple production is the second largest of its kind in the nation. Haskins said NYAA recently concluded its first strategic planning process in many years.

“We started 2018 with recognition by the New York Agricultural Society’s as Business of the Year,” she added. “The award recognizes innovation and leadership, and it makes us very proud.”