Massachusetts Celebrates September as Apple Month
State agricultural officials highlight the fall apple harvest with visits to orchards in Lunenburg, Northborough and Bolton
BOSTON - September 23, 2011 - With local apples ready for picking and in celebration of an abundant crop expected this year, Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott J. Soares urges residents to support Massachusetts apple growers by visiting local orchards, farm stands and farmers' markets for their favorite apple varieties.
By proclamation, Governor Patrick has declared September Apple Month in Massachusetts.
"Purchasing Massachusetts-grown apples is an ideal way to celebrate the autumn harvest and support local farmers at the same time," said Commissioner Soares. "With more than 90 apple orchards in the Commonwealth, people can enjoy apple picking, fresh cider, fresh baked pies and dumplings and take part in fall festivals."
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.
Here are some Massachusetts apple facts:
- There are approximately 369 apple farms in Massachusetts.
- The value of the Massachusetts apple crop in 2010 was over $17.8 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 at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm, 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's website: http://www.newenglandapples.org/index.php?catcont=varieties
Earlier this month Commissioner Soares - joined by Rep. Jennifer Benson, Rep. Harold Naughton, Rep. Kate Hogan, and Russell Powell of New England Apple Association - toured Lanni Orchards in Lunenburg, Tougas Family Farm in Northborough, and the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton.
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
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