NYAA promotes apple harvest time in New York state
The New York Apple Association supports profitable growing and marketing of New York apples through increasing demand for apples and apple products, representing the industry at state and federal levels, and serving as the primary information source on New York apple-related matters.
There are currently 600 apple orchards in New York state on more than 50,000 acres.
The NYAA reported that some of the early varieties, including Ginger Gold, Paula Red, Premier Honeycrisp and Galas kicked off the season recently, with other varieties such as Zestar! Gala, Empire, Fuji, Macoun, McIntosh, Honeycrisp Snapdragon, SweeTango and others ready for distribution and promotion as the new crop season progresses.
“The flavor is unmatched this year,” said Cynthia Haskins, president and CEO of the Fishers, NY-based organization. “New York weather has been cooperating, with New York receiving some needed rain recently. Irrigated apple production is sizing well and ripening up, and there will be a strong mix of available varieties this year. Fruit is sizing up nicely and we will have a good range of sizes.”
Fresh production will be on par with the state’s three-year average and will be somewhere around 33,200 million bushels.
“Cost of goods have increased for everyone, all the way from cost of boxes to retail display shippers and signage,” Haskins said. “The industry is all in the same boat. The good news is that we can secure supplies whereas earlier in the year we were having to place order for supplies months ahead of time.”
New York state’s packinghouses are typically located closer to many of the major U.S. population centers, which reduces fuel costs and emissions. With shorter trips for distribution, New York apple shippers drive sustainable progress — literally.
“With fuel costs being what they are, not only is buying closer to the orchard a sustainable measure but it is a cost savings one as well,” Haskins said.
A best practice among New York apple growers is utilizing Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, to protect their agricultural ecosystems.
Ponds are strategically placed throughout orchards to provide water for irrigation and contribute to the biodiversity of orchards. Fish, insects and algae create their additional complete ecosystem.
“Before apple trees are planted, and between growing seasons, New York rich soils are assessed and enhanced with organic matter that supports tree health,” Haskins said. “Soil health is important to the growers, and they monitor the orchard soil health with probes that tell them the soil’s calcium, potassium and magnesium levels.”
Many New York apple shippers have invested in state-of-the-art packing lines, and others have built brand new facilities over the last five years.
“It has been quite impressive to witness the innovation of the New York apple industry,” Haskins said. “Our growers are stewards of the land, and it is equally as impressive to see the continued adoption of sustainable practices to ensure the longevity of family orchards and economic viability of their communities.”
The NYAA’s marketing and public relations plan for the 2022-23 crop year is successfully under way, with account managers active in coordinating harvest season promotions, from apples to fresh cider.
For one, the NYAA is looking forward to another strong season of digital advertising. NYAA creates original content, images, and video for advertisements that highlight in-season varieties and packs. These ads are then scheduled by NYAA to align with each partner’s sales and promotions, targeting shoppers within a set radius of each store.
“We are working with retail partners to execute geotargeted ad programs, provide assets for in-house platforms and support e-coupons and loyalty programs,” Haskins said,
The advantage of this marketing program it that it reaches shoppers outside of retailer’s typical marketing scopes and pulls them to store websites. It’s also a great option for retailers with smaller marketing departments, with strong local programs, or that simply want to give customers an up-close view of the orchards growing their apples.
“Our goal is to increase movement of New York apples, and we’ve found that customers are highly receptive to targeted marketing letting them know exactly when and where their favorite varieties are available,” Haskins said. “This year’s harvest campaign will kick off with ads announcing the availability of the new crop and can’t miss early season varieties.”