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FALL 2010
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Sweet Harvest, Healthy Future for Apples

By Marc Smith ’76

Signing Agreement
Rob Way
Reaffirming the agreement are L-R seated: Patrick M. Hooker ’84, Commissioner of Agriculture; Professor Susan K. Brown; Dean Kathryn J. Boor ’80; Roger E. Lamont ’64, owner, Lamont Farms; and Jeffrey D. Crist ’76, president, Crist Orchards. L-R standing: Walter H. Blackler; Robert E. Norris III ’88; Charles S. Mead ’78, president, Mead Orchards; and James J. Bittner ’80, owner, Singer Farms.

As this year’s early apple harvest rolled in from orchards around New York, consumers were bringing especially sweet, high-quality apples home to their kitchens. Thanks to the introduction of two new, extensively tested and highly promising varieties and an innovative partnership with New York Apple Growers, LLC (NYAG), CALS will continue to play a critical role in ensuring the production of top-quality fruit for years to come.

Last April, CALS and NYAG agreed to terms to license the firm to offer the soon-to-be named varieties “New York 1” and “New York 2” to be grown by all interested apple producers in the state. A percentage of the royalties from the sale of these varieties will be returned to CALS’ breeding program. Growers benefit from a targeted marketing program to promote these new varieties, and consumers benefit by much more rapid access to new, superior varieties.

In August, growers traveled to Geneva to join New York Commissioner of Agriculture Patrick Hooker and Dean Kathryn Boor to reaffirm their commitment to the agreement.

The new varieties have proved popular with growers. Some 143 orchard businesses have made plans to plant 900,000 trees for both direct and wholesale markets on 948 acres across New York, between 2012 and 2015.

CALS and industry leaders will promote the two varieties from Susan Brown’s breeding program in the marketplace. The new apples are characterized by reliable annual productivity, uniform ripening, good color development, high-quality retention in storage, crisp texture, and distinct, pleasing flavors. New York 1 has many qualities of the highly popular Honeycrisp without the production challenges that limit the number of marketable fruits. New York 2 offers consumers a sweet/tart balance that is a hit with younger consumers.

Good science and market sense, wide access to producers, high-quality products, and strong collaborative efforts among growers, researchers, and state government point to a healthy future for New York’s managed variety initiative.