New York apple growers expect exceptional crop

09/13/2007 02:00:00 AM

New York apple growers began harvesting fruit in earnest this week and report a larger crop than last year, when a spring freeze significantly decreased yields.

They also report "outstanding" quality fruit.

"We are once again looking at a beautiful harvest," says New York Apple Association President Jim Allen in Fishers. "Growers are reporting another outstanding quality crop-our fifth in a row. Our cider will be outstanding this year as well."

The state's growers expect to harvest about 29.5 million bushels this season.

Harvest of early-season apples, such as Paula Red and Ginger Gold, began in August, and harvest of McIntosh, the most widely grown variety in the state, is just beginning. McIntosh accounts for about 17 percent of the state's apple production.

Empire accounts for 15 percent of production, followed by red delicious, Rome, Cortland and Idared. The state also produces Gala, Fuji and Honeycrisp.

Growers also will be pressing batches of cider throughout the fall. New York has nearly 200 cider producers.

Apple consumption is on the rise in New York and around the United States due to publicity from university research showing that apples can help fight breast cancer, prevent Alzheimer's disease, strengthen bones and even help dieters lose weight.

New York's 695 apple orchards produce an average of 25 million bushels of apples annually on 45,000 acres. 

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