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Happy ‘apple holiday’ from the New York Apple Association

“We say ‘Light Up Your Holiday Meals’ with New York state-grown apples,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, headquartered in Fishers, NY. “And we do highlight the three holidays — Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas — by providing great recipes to anyone who visits our website, nyapplecountry.com, and clicks on the ‘recipes’ link on the menu bar.”

The Great New York Apple Recipes’ link offers many delicious recipes and much more. Allen said that to help people have the happiest holidays, “get cooking with New York apples!”Fall-2013-MollyBeautiful, ripe and ready-to-pick New York apples.

The NYAA also typically issues an “Apples for Santa” release that encourages people to leave apples out for Santa instead of sugary products, and its stunning promotional photo is proof.

“Retailers, of course, highlight apples for pies and desserts around the holidays, but many prefer to advertise the ready-made apple pies,” said Allen. “It’s a happier and even more delicious holiday season, regardless of which holiday you are celebrating, when you get cooking with fresh New York state apples.”

The NYAA found its start in 1935 when Eastern New York apple growers joined forces with New England growers to found the New York/New England Apple Institute. The institute’s mission was to promote consumption of fresh-market apples, and membership was voluntary.

In 1950, the Western New York Apple Growers Association was formed by growers to promote apples from that region. Membership in this group was also voluntary. In 1959, New York state apple growers voted to create the first mandatory state Apple Marketing Order.

“In 1994 the New York/New England Apple Institute dissolved,” said Allen. “Eastern New York growers and the Western New York Apple Growers Association united to create the New York Apple Association.”

Since 1959, a majority of New York state apple growers have agreed to pay an assessment to promote New York state apples and apple products, provide grower communications and conduct consumer research. Under the AMO, assessments are collected by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Since 1994, the NYSDAM has contracted with the NYAA to expend AMO funds on the industry’s behalf.

The Commissioner of Agriculture appoints an AMO advisory board consisting of state apple growers, packers and storage operators to advise NYSDAM on how to contract AMO funds each year.

Growers have a chance to reaffirm the AMO at least every eight years.

The NYAA manages a range of AMO programs to support the New York apple industry, including promoting demand for New York state produced and  packed apples and apple products through promotional and educational work with retailers, handlers, consumers, processors and others. It does so by representing its members’ point-of-view to buyers, the public and state and federal legislative and regulatory entities. It also coordinates and performs agricultural and market research activities. And it cooperates with similar associations or agencies in performing any of the above purposes, and any and all things that affect the mutual interests of the New York state apple industry.

The NYAA’s board of directors is made up of 15 growers who represent six growing regions across the state. Directors are elected to three-year terms by growers in their district, and can serve two terms. A list of our current board members is available upon request from NYAA.

Allen said that as the holidays approach, people start to imagine the aroma of a fresh-baked apple pie.

“Look for New York state McIntosh, Crispin, Cortland or Jonagold apples,” he suggested. “All are ideal for pie baking. Enjoy the traditional goodness of New York apple latkes, or stir up a sweet potato and apple casserole. It’s all total comfort food.”

To “toast” the season, the NYAA suggests making its uniquely delicious apple bourbon cake, or stuff your turkey with celebration apple stuffing for something deliciously different.

“And New York state apples are grown nearby, so they get to you faster and fresher,” said Allen. “Buy local and support your area farmers and enjoy a crisper, tastier, more delicious taste of New York.”

The NYAA website also offers an Apple Discovery Guide that describes the apple varieties grown in the state, a handy locator that can help people find farmers markets, pick-your-own orchards, heirloom varieties and fresh New York state apple cider.

“We’re encouraging consumers to share the health by ordering or sending a fresh apple gift box as a Christmas gift,” said Allen. “The list of New York growers and marketers that offer fresh apple gift boxes is available on our website.”

“We’re also strong in social media,” continued Allen, “and we invite everyone to visit the website to connect with us on our media pages.”

USApple reaches 50k followers on Facebook

"Like" if you love this news: U.S. Apple Association gained its 50,000th follower on Facebook recently, demonstrating the group's expanded engagement with consumers on social channels.

In the past year alone, USApple has grown its Facebook following by 30 percent, and its page has reached more than 4 million consumers. Nearly 45,000 Facebook users (fans and non-fans alike) have shared a USApple Facebook post with their followers.

USApple is passing the milestone as it closes a year in which it was highly active on digital and social channels. Online strategy has served as a means to provide education on apples' health benefits while helping fans explore new apple varieties, meal ideas, and culinary adventures. USApple campaigns included:

  • "28 Days of Apples," an award-winning campaign in which USApple members and supporting brands got involved to encourage individuals to learn and share heart-healthy apple facts on social channels during February, American Heart Month.
  • "Apple Summer Selfies," an online contest rewarding individuals for sharing selfies with an apple or apple product in hand during summer travels and vacation.
  • "AppletizeMe," an online apple variety and pairing education program - timed to National Apple Month (October) - featuring a humorous personality quiz matching individuals with their ideal apple varieties and perfect pairings.

"We've worked hard this past year to establish meaningful relationships with consumers online - with programs including digital contests, Twitter parties, a brand new YouTube video series, Pinterest recipe boards, and other outreach," Wendy Brannen, director of consumer health and public relations at USApple, said in a press release. "Facebook has been an effective channel to pull all of those pieces together and really showcase our campaigns. We've had the 50K number in sight for a few months now and are excited to achieve that goal this fall."

Mung bean sprouts blamed for 10-state Salmonella outbreak

WASHINGTON — Federal and state officials have traced back a 10-state outbreak of Salmonella to mung bean sprouts sold by Brooklyn, NY-based Wonton Foods Inc., which is the focus of an FDA inspection.  

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said at least 63 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis since Sept. 30, and disease investigators have identified mung bean sprouts as the likely source. Some people have been hospitalized but no deaths were reported.

Twenty-nine of 37 ill persons reported eating bean sprouts or menu items containing the sprouts in the week before becoming ill, CDC said. Sprouts identified in five illness clusters and individual cases were traced back to Wonton Foods, prompting the company to stop production and sale of mung bean sprouts and take other actions to prevent Salmonella contamination.

“The firm has reported that their last shipment of bean sprouts was on November 18, 2014.  FDA is continuing its investigation and will work with the firm on any required corrective actions,” the FDA reported Nov. 23.

There was no company recall due to the short shelf life — three to eight days — of mung bean sprouts, along with the company’s commitment to destroy all seeds and finished sprouts grown from the seed lots used at the time of the illnesses, said an agency spokesman.

FDA became aware of the outbreak on Nov. 12 when the agency’s Coordinated Outbreak Response & Evaluation Network began evaluating the outbreak. On Nov. 17, it was suspected the vehicle could be an FDA-regulated product, FDA said.

The agency said it has begun an inspection of Wonton Foods but “cannot comment further on the specifics of that at this time."

Red Sun Farms cuts ribbon at new Virginia facility

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Red Sun Farms welcomed over 225 guests to the first phase of its newest state-of-the-art greenhouse in Dublin, VA, to officially cut the ribbon and celebrate the grand opening of the facility.

Amongst community leaders, retail partners and local business owners was Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who participated in the ribbon cutting and celebrated alongside Red Sun Farms' ownership and team members.

The event that celebrated the beauty of the greenhouse and featured a gastronomic adventure made from Red Sun Farms' greenhouse-grown vegetables. Attendees feasted on shallot red pepper tarte tatins, BLT scallops, grilled shrimp with tomato Brava sauce, fried green tomato BLT's and an heirloom tomato carving station complete with a variety of cheeses and finishing salts from around the globe.

"I was so pleased with the event, it was wonderful to share this proud moment with the community of Dublin and the New River Valley, our retail partners and state officials," Carlos Visconti, chief operating officer of Red Sun Farms, said in a press release. "Not only were we able to celebrate with our friends and partners, it was the perfect opportunity for guests to taste our produce grown in Virginia and grown in our greenhouse facilities in Canada and Mexico."

Key Food introduces new banner: Food Universe

Key Food Stores Co-operative Inc., a chain of independently owned and operated grocery stores, introduced a new banner into its supermarket family: Food Universe. As this new banner continues to roll out, customers can expect to see a growth of locations, ensuring convenient access to Food Universe and its offerings.

“We are so excited to introduce Food Universe as the newest member in the Key Food family of supermarkets,”  Dean Janeway, chief executive officer, said in a press release. “With the addition of these new, convenient locations we are dedicated to upholding the high level of quality and value that our customers have come to know and love.”

As Food Universe joins the Key Food supermarket family, it carries traditional quality and value customers can trust. With a variety of locations, each Food Universe will be able to cater to its individual neighborhood’s needs — ranging in sizes and product offerings.