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New York apple crop moving through the market at a rapid clip

by Christina DiMartino | October 31, 2011
New York Apple Association President Jim Allen (right) chatted with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a Food Day event Oct. 24 in Queens, NY, where Mayor Bloomberg helped hand out New York-grown apples at a subway stop. More than 3,500 New York apples were passed out to city residents at five locations as part of Food Day celebrations in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Queens Gazette)

“We walked away from last year’s New York Produce Show & Conference knowing that we were absolutely correct in our assumption that it would be an excellent event,” Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association in Fishers, NY, told The Produce News. “The first year out of the block it set standards among regional trade shows. The interest was beyond our expectations, and we feel that the show committee did a great job at putting it together.”

The NYAA is a high-level sponsor of the show. This year, it is a partner-sponsor for the opening reception. It is also sponsoring the hotdog cart that will be moved throughout the show on Nov. 8 to help people ward off their hunger.

The NYAA has been a sponsor of the ING New York City Marathon since 1999 and will again sponsor the event on Nov. 6, the day prior to the opening of the New York Produce Show. Last year, the association provided a total of 52,000 New York-grown apples to participants who crossed the finish line.

“We are very excited to be able to bring some opportunities that the marathon presented to the produce industry,” said Mr. Allen. “NBC Channel Four network is also a sponsor of the marathon. They will bring a crew to the New York Produce Show on Tuesday to film portions of the event, emphasizing the New York apple industry and our presence there. They plan to air a segment on the news.”

The NYAA also is bringing celebrity chef, television personality and author Sara Moulton to the New York Produce Show to participate in the cooking demonstrations. Ms. Moulton was one of the Food Network’s defining personalities during the network’s first decade. She was the executive chef for Gourmet Magazine for 23 years and has authored numerous best-selling cookbooks.

“Sara will be demonstrating a recipe using New York state apples,” said Mr. Allen. “Her demonstration is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, at 1:30 in the afternoon. The demonstration will be filmed, and there is a chance that it will be aired on ABC Network’s ‘Good Morning America’ program.”

Mr. Allen, along with David McClurg, vice president of marketing, and Peter Gregg, communications and marketing spokesman for the NYAA, will be on hand to meet and greet visitors at the Association’s booth.

Mr. Allen said that weather permitting, New York apple producers will end up picking a pretty-nice crop this year.

“We’ve gone through just about everything Mother Nature could throw at us since spring,” he said. “We’ve had rain, dry spells, hurricanes and even an earthquake, but despite it all we’re really pleased with the crop. We’re very close to what we predicted would be good quality and expected volumes.”

He added that this year’s crop is moving very rapidly in the market, attributing much of the strong demand to fresh apple cider, which is using up the crop quickly.

“People want fresh, locally produced cider today, not bottled or packaged prepared apple juice,” Mr. Allen said. “We anticipate selling out before the end of the marketing season. We’ll try to get through next June with supplies, but some people say that it’s a stretch to think that we’ll reach that far out. At the present clip, we know the crop is going to sell out quickly.”

Mr. Allen added that apple prices should stabilize or increase as volumes tighten up, but they certainly won’t decrease.

“Market and supply is in a good mix right now,” he said. “We’re offering a great product that has outstanding value.”