New York Apple Association Gears Up for Another Great Season
VICTOR, NY - As a creative, I feel like a crucial part of my soul journey is to venture to New York—a trip that has been on the top of my to-do list for years, but still has yet to happen. With the New York Apple Association’s (NYAA) latest efforts to keep retailers’ excitement top-notch and satisfy consumers’ cravings for New York apples and their signature flavor, coloring, and texture, my New-York-yearning soul might be content with another season away from the Big Apple.
I chatted with NYAA President and CEO Cynthia Haskins to learn more about this season’s iconic favorites coming out of the region—which boasts 26 different apple varieties, including born-in-New-York legends Empire and Cortland and New York exclusives RubyFrost® and SnapDragon®—and the initiatives NYAA is implementing as crop hits retail.
“NYAA is the marketing organization for the more than 600 commercial apple growers in New York State. We are committed to raising consumer awareness and working directly with retailers to promote New York’s apples, known for their exceptional color, flavor, and texture,” Cynthia tells me. “The 2018 growing season has been sensational and harvest is in its earliest stages. The harvest lineup is showing early varieties like Ginger Gold and Paula Red coming in first, followed by McIntosh and Honeycrisp at the start of September, with favorites like Cortland and Empire hitting later in the month.”
Cynthia reveals that volume will be up this year thanks to the growing region’s expanding acreage—up to 41,000 acres in six districts across New York state—that includes over 11 million trees producing on average 29.5 million bushels of apples annually. And the top ten apple-growing counties—Wayne, Ulster, Orleans, Niagara, Clinton, Columbia, Monroe, Orange, Onondaga, and Dutchess—have reported a good range of sizes is coming out of the orchards and that color is near perfect this year, in part because the weather has been ideal.
“New York has ideal growing conditions, which includes rich soil, abundant sun and water, and a long growing season. This season, New York had warm weather, a successful bloom, and bountiful pollination activities, followed by rain, which fostered a great growing season,” Cynthia says. “There is no decline in consumer demand for great tasting apples. In fact, the category continues to explode and is showcasing flavor, convenience, and versatility like never before. And, as snacking continues to become more sophisticated as consumers look for ways to turn a snack into an on-the-go meal alternative, we’re getting to bolster New York apples as a delicious pairing with dips, nuts, cheeses, pretzels, spreads, and in salads.”
To stay on top of changing consumer demand, the NYAA is switching up its consumer and trade marketing initiatives to answer the question, “What kind of brand experience do people have when they sink their teeth into a New York apple?” This will include new brand messages and fresh ways to assist retailers with outreach via traditional circular ads, in-store demos, signage, social media support, and, beginning this year, a national display contest that will award two grand prize winners with trips for two to one of two picturesque apple regions in New York. The NYAA is even tapping into popular state events as a means to push New York apples to the top of retailers’ and consumers’ minds.
“Because the legendary Empire apple was born in New York, New York apples will be the official apple of this year’s TCS New York City Marathon—it only makes sense that an event devoted to fitness involves a healthy food like a New York apple. Also, we are sponsoring the Big Apple Crunch, an annual event that involves more than two million New Yorkers biting into a New York apple at precisely 2 pm on October 25th,” Cynthia explains.
One thing is for sure, New York apples are just as fun as the state they’re from and the New York Apple Association is making sure no one forgets that this season.
For more on how fresh fruit and veg is faring around the world, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.