Aug 20, 2004
New York Apple Growers Predict 26.5 Million Bushel Harvest

The New York Apple Association (NYAA) has announced that the predicted New York state apple crop in 2004 will be 26.5 million bushels, a harvest above the state’s crop average and nearly on par with last year’s vintage crop.

“We’re looking at the second year in a row of a big, quality apple crop in New York,”said Jim Allen, NYAA president. “The fruit this year again looks terrific.”

Bloom and pollination this spring were excellent, according to growers in all three of the state’s primary growing regions – the Hudson Valley, along Lake Champlain and along Lake Ontario. Steady rains this summer have helped fatten fruit.

“I would not be surprised if we exceed our prediction because of the heavy rain patterns that we’ve experienced across the state this summer,”Allen said.

Harvest of early variety apples such as Paula Red and Ginger Gold will likely begin next week in the Hudson Valley and within two weeks in western New York. Many growers are predicting that the harvest will begin earlier than last year, perhaps even a week earlier in some orchards.

The state’s harvest will begin in earnest in September and run through early November. The state’s most popular varieties are McIntosh with 19 percent of the state’s total production and Empire with 11 percent of the state’s total. Other major varieties in descending order are Red Delicious, Rome, Cortland and Ida Red. The state also produces popular up-and-coming varieties like Gala, Fuji and Honey Crisp.

Breakdown of the crop utilization is roughly 50 percent for processing products such as applesauce, apple slices, cider and juice; the other 50 percent is sold fresh at retail.

Last year’s crop, also supported by steady rains throughout the summer, yielded one of the best crops in 30 years with more than 28 million bushels and excellent fruit quality.

Last year’s crop was so big – nearly double the size of 2002’s crop of 16 million bushels – that many growers were scrambling for extra bins and vacant storage facilities.

The state average for apple production is approximately 25 million bushels. The state ranks second in apple production nationwide.

The New York Apple Association will again this fall launch a statewide advertising campaign on TV, radio and other advertisements touting the health benefits and eating quality of apples and apple products.

Apple consumption is on the rise due to continued university research proving that apples can help fight cancer, improve breathing for asthma sufferers, strengthen bones and help dieters lose weight.

For more information on the NYAA, visit www.nyapplecountry.com





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