There was a time not so long ago when New York’s apple farms were struggling. Competing against cheap, imported apple juice from China, the market for its own juice varieties was drying up quickly, leaving many farms with bottom lines as red as the fruit on their trees.
Partly out of necessity, the industry here changed.
Some marginal operations left the business. Farmers put less emphasis on juice apples and more on the fresh market. However, that meant upping their game, said Julia Stewart, a spokesperson for the New York Apple Association, which is based in the Victor hamlet of Fishers. The association is the marketing organization for New York apple growers.
“Consumers and growers figured out that apples are a whole lot more fun when they taste good,” she said.
The fresh market now constitutes about 60 percent of the New York crop, with processing fruit for things like apple sauce, pie filling and cider, among other products, comprising the remainder.