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New executive director of the PA Apple Marketing Program heads into first season with nice crop

“We are anticipating a very nice crop of apples this year, with volumes similar to the 2012 crop,” said Julie Bancroft, the newly appointed executive director for the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program, headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, on Aug. 8. “The fruit size also looks good — but not too large.”

“Unlike last year’s crop, which started about two weeks early, we’re expecting normal harvest times this year,” she continued. “Our early varieties such as the Ginger Gold, will begin late next week. The Galas will follow about 10 to 14 days later. The Gala and Honeycrisp varieties continue to grow in popularity, although the traditional favorites, like the Red Delicious, are still in demand.”

J BancroftJulie Bancroft, executive director of the PA Apple Marketing Program.Bancroft joined the PAMP board in May. While new to produce and agriculture, she joins the organization with 10 years of experience in all facets of marketing and communications. Since joining the organization, she has been busy meeting with growers and industry partners to quickly get acclimated with the apple industry as well as with retailers to ensure that all promotional programs are in place for the upcoming season.

Bancroft noted that all of the PAMP board of directors were re-elected to their positions at a July 2013 board meeting. They are: Julie Haller, chair; Dan Boyer, vice chair; and Ken Dries, treasurer.

The PAMP board always has a strong statewide promotional initiative in place, and it works with other adjacent state apple organizations to help market Northeastern apples.

“This year we will continue to make point of sale materials, including a video kiosk which is available to our growers for use at their farm markets to engage and educate consumers about Pennsylvania apples,” Bancroft said.

“We are also working closely with retailers to create programs that enhance the presence of eastern apples in grocery stores. Additionally, in order to engage directly with consumers and to encourage them to seek out eastern apples at their local grocery stores and/or farm markets, we now have a presence on several social media platforms.”

The PAMP is now active on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and it will be integrating social media into its website along with some other great features to encourage consumers to learn and share about eastern apples.

The Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program is a commodity marketing program established by the Commodity Marketing Act of 1968. The program is funded by apple growers and governed by a board of directors. The board is composed of growers from various regions of the state and a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The program’s goal is to promote the sale and consumption of Pennsylvania’s fresh apples and processed apple products. PAMP works with Pennsylvania retailers, direct marketers, apple processors, and apple shippers to provide point of sale, promotions, and marketing support across various distribution channels. In addition, a portion of PAMP’s annual budget is dedicated to horticultural and/or marketing and research.

The organization is also an active member in both the U.S. Apple Association and the U.S. Apple Export Council. Membership in these organizations allows apple growers, shippers and processors in Pennsylvania the opportunity to work directly on issues and policies affecting the apple industry, both domestic and international.