5 facts about this year’s apple harvest, plus a challenge

Fishers, N.Y. – New York state’s apple harvest is now underway statewide, and consumers will soon find all their favorite varieties – new and old – at grocery stores, farm stands, greenmarkets and wherever they shop for apples.

“By the time this crop gets off the trees and to market, all New York state apple fans are going to see is ‘great’ – great variety, great quality and great flavor,” said New York Association President Jim Allen.

Here are five facts about New York state’s 2016 apple harvest:

1. In spite of weather challenges – frost during bloom in some areas, hail in others – is the state’s growers are forecast to pick 30 million cartons of apples. That’s slightly above the state’s average crop of 28.6 million cartons over the past five years. “We really are the Big Apple – we are the largest apple-producing state East of the Mississippi, and second only to Washington state nationally,” says Allen.

2. Fruits will tend to be a bit smaller this year because of the state’s drought. “There are plenty of fruits on the trees this year, they’re just smaller in size than usual,“ says Allen. “Moms and kids will be especially happy.”

3. Drought makes apples crunchier and sweeter. With less water content, the concentration of sugars in each apple is higher. “Even downsides can have upsides in this industry,” says Allen.

4. The state’s growers are growing more of the varieties that apple fans love – including new favorites Gala and Honeycrisp, and old New York favorites McIntosh and Empire. “Our growers produce more apples now on fewer acres because of technology – smaller trees that produce more fruit, computer-aided packing and sorting, and high-tech cold storage that puts apples to sleep until they are ready to ship to stores,” says Allen.

5. By buying local New York state apples, consumers support hundreds of farm families. “Many of our families have been growing apples for several generations,” says Allen. “It’s always exciting to see the next generation getting involved.”

For more information about the New York state apple and cider industry – check out NYAA’s variety guide, or use the site’s handy locator map to find a farm market or cider mill nearby – visit www.nyapplecountry.com.

Take the Big Apple Salad Challenge
NYAA invites apple fans who want to eat more healthfully to take the Big Apple Salad Challenge this fall, by eating at least one salad a day that includes apples. Fans who take the Big Apple Salad Challenge are invited to try NYAA’s salad recipes, and to send pictures of their own apple salads to NYAA – the association will share fan photos on its website and Facebook page.

“Whatever your health goal – eating cleaner, feeling better, losing weight – salads are a deliciously easy way to eat better without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction,” says NYAA Registered Dietitian Linda Quinn. “Apples add crunch, texture and flavor – as well as nutrients and fiber-related fullness – to any salad. Plus, apple cider and cider vinegar make great salad dressings!”

Quinn has developed a number of apple salad recipes to help apple fans get started on the Big Apple Salad Challenge, including:
New York Apple Slaw with Sweet and Sour Cider Dressing – NYAA’s Facebook fans picked this recipe for Quinn to prepare during a demonstration at the Great New York State Fair on August 26
New York Apple-cado Salad, a fruity, crunchy twist on traditional guacamole
New York Apple Seasonal Salad, with kale, quinoa and dried cranberries in a cider vinaigrette dressing
• For the guys who grill, New York Grilled Apple Salad with a tangy cider mustard vinaigrette dressing
New York Apple BYO Salad with Apple Cider Drizzle – build your own salad with what’s in your fridge!

“Eating clean means eating more of the best, healthiest foods – and less of the not-so-healthy ones. It means eating whole foods, close to their source,” says Quinn. “Eating clean doesn’t just make you feel better about the food you’re eating, it actually makes you feel better.”

Send NYAA your favorite salad recipe or salad photo by Oct. 31, and you will also be entered in the Big Apple Salad Sweepstakes – you could win one of three $500 Visa gift cards in a random drawing. NYAA will share sweepstakes winners’ photos after the sweepstakes has concluded. (You can also simply fill out and submit the sweepstakes entry form – no purchase, photo or recipe is necessary.)

To learn more about the Big Apple Salad Challenge, to find salad recipes and to enter the sweepstakes, visit www.nyapplecountry.com and click on the link at the top of the home page.

Note to editors: Photos are available to support this story via NYAA’s Flickr photo-sharing site. NYAA grants permission for use of our photos in editorial coverage.