New York apple industry awarded $75K to connect farms with consumers
Fishers, N.Y. – New York City consumers will get better connected to the state’s apple growers and cider makers thanks to a $75,000 grant just awarded from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
New York Apple Association (NYAA) received the grant from a federal program established by the 2014 farm bill to support producers of specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts and ornamental plants. The funds will be used to educate New York City consumers about the state’s apples and cider, and to encourage and help them to visit local apple orchards.
“We know consumers want to connect with the people who supply their food, this program will help them do that,” said NYAA President Jim Allen.
NYAA will work with EscapeMaker.com, an online guide to local agritourism getaways, to conduct “The NYC Applelooza.” The campaign will provide New York City consumers with information about the health benefits of New York state apples, while also sampling the many apple varieties available from across the state. Information about visiting pick-your-own apple orchards will be provided at GrowNYC’s 55+ Greenmarkets across New York City, and at special events such as EscapeMaker.com’s annual Local Food & Travel Expo.
“Increasing New York City residents’ awareness of the state’s apples and cider will help our industry to be more competitive in a crowded food marketplace,” said NYAA President Jim Allen. “Our industry is grateful to USDA and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for making possible this outreach to an influential cross-section of the downstate public.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recipients of the 2014 grant awards on Oct. 2. The bipartisan 2014 farm bill provided an historic $118 million for specialty crop block grant funding to states to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and to strengthen U.S. agriculture. USDA allocated a total of $1.4 million to New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for 15 specialty crop projects, including the NYAA project. For more information, read USDA’s press release or view the program’s description of funded projects.
EscapeMaker.com is a resource for weekend getaways and day trips in and around the NYC metropolitan area – with a focus on agritourism, events and local destinations reachable by mass transit. The 4th EscapeMaker.com Local Food & Travel Expo will be held May 2, 1015 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. For more information, visit www.escapemaker.com.