Apple Season Kicks Off Early This Year
State Agricultural Officials Highlight Fall Apple Harvest
BOSTON – Thursday, September 5, 2013 – Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) today reported the state’s apple orchards have a good crop of apples perfect for picking and some growers are reporting above average fruit size this fall.
“Apples are symbolic of fall in Massachusetts,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Crisp weekends are perfect for apple-picking with the family and friends, as well as supporting local farmers.”
Commissioner Watson urged residents to take advantage of the many great local varieties apple growers produce by visiting Massachusetts orchards, farm stands and farmers' markets for their favorites.
“More than 80 percent of small farms in the Commonwealth are family-owned, which makes every purchase of local produce an important part of building community and economic growth,” said DAR Marketing and Agri-tourism Coordinator Rick Leblanc, who visited the Big Apple Farm in Wrentham yesterday. Big Apple Farm is celebrating its 101st anniversary this year.
Massachusetts boasts more than 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.
Some Massachusetts apple facts:
- There are approximately 369 apple farms in Massachusetts.
- The value of the Massachusetts apple crop in 2011 was more than $19.4 million.
- Massachusetts ranks 12th nationally for the total value of US apple production. In terms of ranking by total production, Massachusetts ranks 15th.
- 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, 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.
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.