Patrick-Murray Administration Proclaims September Apple Month
State agricultural officials highlight the fall apple harvest with visits to orchards in Stow, Bolton, and Harvard as part of the New England Apple Day celebration
BOSTON – Wednesday, September 5, 2012 – With the beginning of apple season, the Patrick-Murray Administration has proclaimed September “Apple Month” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Farmers and state agricultural officials anticipate an abundant apple crop this year.
Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Greg Watson encourages residents to support Massachusetts apple growers by visiting local orchards, farm stands and farmers' markets for their favorite apple varieties.
“Visiting Massachusetts orchards is a tradition, enjoyed by many generations, that celebrates the fall harvest and support local farmers at the same time," said Commissioner Watson. "Residents and visitors can enjoy apple picking, fresh cider, fresh baked pies and dumplings and take part in fall festivals at nearly 100 orchards across the Commonwealth.”
Commissioner Watson joins the five other New England agriculture commissioners who have officially kicked off the apple season in their respective states.
New England boasts over 100 varieties of apples, including local favorites such as McIntosh, Cortland, Macoun, Gala and Honeycrisp. According to the United States Apple Association, apples contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium and are excellent sources of fiber, natural plant-based anti-oxidants, and the mineral boron - which promotes healthy bones.
“The harvest is ahead of schedule,” said Bar Weeks, executive director of the New England Apple Association. “McIntosh will be ready for picking in some orchards a week or more ahead of a typical year, and may be ready for picking as early as early as Apple Day.
Here are some Massachusetts apple facts:
- There are approximately 369 apple farms in Massachusetts.
- The value of the Massachusetts apple crop in 2011 was over $21.69 million.
- Massachusetts ranks 12th nationally for the production of apples.
- More than 40 percent of apple growers market their apples directly to consumers through roadside farm stands, farmers' markets and pick-your-own operations.
For a list of Massachusetts apple orchards, pick-your-own apple farms, and farmers' markets and roadside produce stands, DAR has an easy-to-use farm finder which provides information about local farms, their locations, and contact information.
For additional information on apple varieties and orchards in Massachusetts visit the New England Apple website.
DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services - DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth's agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR's website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/MDARCommish.