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New York growers gear up for summer

By
Keith Loria

Now that summer has arrived, New York’s deep collection of growers are busy at work, harvesting its finest produce over the next few months.

According to the USDA’s most recent Ag Census, there were 33,438 farms in New York State and 6,866,171 acres in production, with the state being among the top five in grapes, green peas and squash.

New York State is also great for apples. Jessica Wells, executive director of the Lockport, NY-based Crunch Time Apples, noted New York has the ideal climate for growing apples with hot summer days and cool nights, adequate rainfall and four distinct seasons that give the trees what they need throughout the year.

Plus, being in New York, Crunch Time Apples can offer its retail partners two options for premium apples that don’t have to travel all the way across the country.

“Less fuel and labor are required to get our apples to consumers based solely on mileage,” Wells said. “Additionally, we are always on the look-out for ways to be more efficient across the board, storing apples where they will be used, helping retailers choose and develop packaging that is cost-effective to produce and for our partners to pack, automating processes where possible and minimizing inputs in growing — all while making sure consumers are getting a consistent apple of superior quality at a competitive price.”

Shannon Kyle, who handles sales and marketing for Torrey Farms Inc., a large family farm located in Elba, NY, with operations also in Potter, NY, combining for 10,000 acres, noted the muckland, in the instance drained swampland helps vegetables in the state have a unique quality.

She explained that the rich, black muck land soils are prime for growing onions and potatoes, while the mineral soils in the region allow Torrey Farms to grow a healthy crop of cabbage, cucumbers, many different squashes, and also rotational crops like field corn, alfalfa, wheat and soybeans.

The Torrey family began farming some of the land it still operates in Genesee County in 1803.   

“Working in New York is important to our business for many reasons,” she said. “No. 1, this is where our land base is, which cannot be changed. The proximity to ample supplies of fresh water as well as high quality farmland and proximity to market are all winners; making the vast, flat farmland across Western New York a real gem.”

Secondly, the proximity to market and the Eastern seaboard population base that the company can access by truck in 5-7 hours provides tremendous opportunity.  

Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing for D’Arrigo New York, noted New York City will always be one of the most important produce places in the world, and despite the challenges that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, will always be vital.

‘Yes, it has seen some major crises occur over the course of its existence, but it’s always managed to come back quickly,” she said. “The fact that there’s so many different people coming into this region regularly makes it so important. There’s so many different types of demographics and age bracket, and cultures and cuisine, so there’s always going to be a need for produce.”

 

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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