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This post, Locally Grown New York Apples: A Farm Tour, is sponsored by New York Apple Sales. As always, the opinions stated here are always 100% my own.
A Day on The Apple Farm
Adopted as the state fruit in 1976, everyone knows that the apple is a signature New York State agricultural product. As iconic as a Georgia Peach, the New York apple is a symbol of prosperity, growth, heritage and tradition.
When I was presented with the opportunity to head out to a large fruit farm just outside of Albion, NY with New York Apple Sales to see the apple trees in bloom, I couldn’t pass up the once in a lifetime experience.
On the most gorgeous day in May, I had the pleasure of joining Jim Allen, the Vice President of Marketing with New York Apple Sales (NYAS) for a tour of Lamont Fruit Farm in Waterport New York.
New York Apple Sales is the largest, most geographically diverse sales agency in New York State that partners with both growers and packing facilities to deliver the best selection of apples, all year long.
Locally Grown New York Apples
Simply pulling into the driveway of the farm was breathtaking. Thousands upon thousands of apple trees were in full bloom, lining the beautiful, sprawling landscape. With nearly 1,000 acres of fruit trees, Lamont Fruit Farm is a large scale, family owned and operated apple farm that offers a wide variety of apples.
The moment we stepped out of the car, I could smell the sweet, sweet smell of the apple blooms. The stunning white trees sprawled out as far as my eyes could see, it was truly magical.
New York State Apple Sales
Jim was a wealth of knowledge. With over 30 years in the apple business, he knew everything about growing beautiful New York Apples. Jim was able to not only explain the growing process from start to finish, but also a little bit about how NYAS works with partner farms across the state.
NYAS represents over 50 growers who farm over 5,000 acres of apple orchards across New York. In this fully integrated partnership, NYAS is able to invest in the orchards through growing the varieties of apples that consumers want, as well as testing new varieties in their tree nurseries.
You may be familiar with Corland, Empire, Fuji and Gala apple varieties. Thank’s to NYAS, they continue to bring you the apple varieties you love the most, year after year.
The Art & Science of Farming
As a registered dietitian and nutritionist, I’ve always had a deep passion for understanding where our food comes from and what it actually takes to get that food from the farm on to our plates. I’ve even starting sharing some of my backyard gardening experiences inside The Millennial Garden.
I’ve always marveled in the beauty and sophistication of farming and ever evolving farming practices. There is a marriage of both the art and the science of growing crops on a large scale. NYAS is leading the way by using innovative technology to refine their farming practices to allow for the most yield, the best product, and the most sustainable practices.
NYAS works closely with Cornell University to help facilitate science-based agriculture innovation and sustainable practices. They work together to help facilitate studies regarding Integrated Pest Management, as well as new techniques for growing, harvesting, and picking apples.
One of the coolest parts of our visit was learning about the bees. Inside these boxes pictured below are hives containing hundreds of thousands of bees that have been ‘rented’ to pollinate the blooms for the season.
Jim told me how these bees are transported by tractor trailer all across the country from farm to farm, pollinating hundreds of thousands of different fruit and vegetable plants. We talked about the relevance of the bee crisis and how it is affecting farmers today, and how it will affect them in the future.
The Apple Harvest
The other fascinating fact I learned is that every single apple is harvested by hand. BY HAND! That is truly incredible when you think about the fact that New York produces approximately 30 MILLION bushels of apples each and every year.
The orange piece of machinery pictured below is what is used to harvest the apples. The ropes you see hanging down are actually harnesses to keep the apple pickers safe, and the bottom is where the large apple bins sit and collect the most perfect apples.
Jim explained how this piece of machinery actually does not need a tractor to pull it. It is entirely self propelled and is run by GPS, like most farm tractors these days, to ensure accuracy.
What is Coming Up Next
I look forward to continue working with New York Apple Sales to bring you more information about the latest and greatest from New York Apples. One thing I am really excited to be sharing with you soon is the KORU® Apple!
Born in New Zealand, and now produced here in New York, the KORU® apple is names after the Maori word that symbolizes “new life, growth, strength and peace”. This crisp, sweet apple is naturally delicious and slightly aromatic with a hint of sweet honey.
I will also be sharing more with you later this Fall with the coming apple harvest!
Thank you so much for joining me on this virtual farm tour of Lamont Fruit Farms, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Keep on the look-out for upcoming blog posts, and of course, if you have any questions about New York Apple Sales, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.