Friday, February 20, 2015

Grapes, Apples Still Strong in NY Agriculture

New York once again ranks second in the country in apple production and third in the country in grape production, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

New York growers produced about 1.26 billion pounds of apples and 188,000 tons of grapes last year. 

With these estimates, only California and Washington exceed New York in grape production and only Washington produced more apples than the Empire State last year. 

New York was named "Wine Region of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in October. The growth of the state's wine industry -- more and more wineries are opened in the state each year -- was cited as a reason why New York garnered the wine region title.

"The 2014 New York grape crop turned out a lot better than many people expected after the extreme cold of three 'polar vortex' events Upstate during the winter, followed by a relatively cool spring and summer," said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation.

"But September turned out to be pure magic for ripening, so the quality was superb and the quantity was larger than envisioned earlier," Trezise said. "Tonnage was 9 percent below the previous year, but that's because 2013 was the largest harvest on record. All in all, it was a very good year."

"We might be number two in national apple production, but New York has the best growing conditions and best tasting apples in the country," said James Allen, president of the New York Apple Association. "That puts us number one in the hearts of consumers from around the world. Snow may be on the ground, but New York apples, ciders and other apple products are available at food establishments throughout the year."

According to USDA Statistics Service, New York is home to 40,000 acres of apple orchards. Apple growers produced an average of 31,500 pounds per acre of apples. Last year's crop totaled $289 million, a 22 percent increase from 2013. 

New York is also home to 37,000 acres dedicated to the production of grapes. In the wake of a very harsh winter following the best crop in the state's history, grape growers produced 5.08 tons per acre of grapes in 2014 with crop production totaling $69.4 million.
New York apples have year-round availability in more than 20 varieties, including Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, RubyFrost and Zestar.


According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the grape, grape juice and wine industry has a $4.8 billion economic impact and attracts 5.3 million tourists annually to the New York state. The industry supports 25,000 full-time jobs with wages amounting to more than $1.4 billion. 

New York has ranked second in apple production every year since 1996 and third in grape production every year since 1987, with an exception in 1996 when the state ranked second. New York state also traditionally ranks in the top 10 nationally in the production of blueberries, peaches, pears, strawberries, sweet cherries and tart cherries. 

In 2014, the state ranked fourth in pear production, fifth in tart cherries, eighth in sweet cherries, ninth in strawberries and 11th in peaches and blueberries.

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