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The New York Apple Association this fall will once again be offering a full- service promotion support program for retailers promoting new-crop apples, tying in with the huge buy-local produce trend.

"We're going all out to push fresh, local fruit," Jim Allen, president of the Fishers-based New York Apple Association, which represents the state's 695 growers, said in a press release. "Our apples this fall will be coming straight from the orchard - not fruit from storage."

A key component of the program is newly designed point-of-sale signage promoting new-crop McIntosh and Empires, and generic new-crop signs. Banners are also available, as well as new display wrap and new health card p-o-s signage.

The association has also created a new poster highlighting New York apples, with a starburst stick-on that reads "New Crop!"

Other in-store display support includes point-of-sale variety cards that detail characteristics of New York apple varieties. Each of the cards has a colorful illustration of the apple and touts the apple's eating qualities. Merchandising favorites like the Apple Country variety guide and the Hispanic apple variety guide are also returning this fall.

The association will continue with its successful in-store demo program, which has become one of the more effective ways to promote apples. Last year, the association sponsored approximately 1,500 in-store demos throughout the nation.

The association will also launch an extensive $600,000 advertising campaign throughout the year on television and radio that promote taste and the health benefits of eating apples.

And, as it has done since 1999, the association will sponsor the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1. In addition to a presence all along the marathon route in New York, the association will be advertising apples during television coverage of the marathon on WNBC and on the station's web site, WNBC.com.

Retailers in New York metropolitan area are encouraged to promote apples in their circulars during the week leading up to the marathon.

New scan data show that New York-grown varieties are dominating the marketplace in major East Coast markets. Data indicate that McIntosh ranks third in popularity in New York City and first in Boston. Other varieties like Empire and Honeycrisp also rank high.

New York ranks second in apple production nationwide, with 29.5 million bushels harvested last year.