Pennsylvania Expects 2016 Apple Crop to Be In Range of Its Five-year Average

A commodity marketing program, the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program is funded by apple growers and governed by a board of directors comprised of growers from various regions of the state and a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Julie Bancroft, executive director of PAMP, which is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, said the anticipated Pennsylvania’s apple crop will be around its five-year average.bedford-county-orchard-in-bloomA Bedford County, PA, apple orchard in full blossom.

“This is approximately 10 million bushels,” said Bancroft. “Harvest of commercial varieties will begin around the third week of August in most areas of the state.”

She added that the number of grower members has been holding steady for the last several years. Currently close to 275 growers are represented by the program.

Pennsylvania growers, Bancroft explained, were faced with several challenging weather events this year.

“Earlier in the spring, unseasonably cold temperatures created frost challenges for growers in several regions of the state,” she said. “With tremendous effort, most growers escaped severe frost damage. Unfortunately, pockets of central and south-central Pennsylvania were then hit with damaging hailstorms. The damage, however, is limited to specific growers and varieties.”

PAMP’s goal is to promote the sale and consumption of Pennsylvania’s fresh apples and processed apple products. PAMP works with Pennsylvania retailers, direct marketers, apple processors and apple shippers to provide point of sale, promotion and marketing support across various distribution channels. A portion of PAMP’s annual budget is dedicated to horticultural and/or marketing research.

Bancroft noted that Pennsylvania typically exports about 5 percent of its fresh crop to countries in Central America, as well as to India and Israel.

“Exports may be down slightly this year due simply to the projected size of the fresh crop,” she said.

Pennsylvania apples will begin harvesting in mid-August, and wraps up in early November.

In a March 31 press release, PAMP announced it had voted to contribute $20,000 over the next two years to the Center for Produce Safety.

“Pennsylvania growers see the efforts of the CPS as insurance for our industry,” Bancroft stated in the release. “The center’s research will be vital in helping apple growers to continue to deliver a safe and healthy product to consumers while preserving the public’s confidence in food safety efficacy.”

In 2015, the CPS launched the Campaign for Produce Safety, an effort to raise $20 million over five years for produce-focused food safety research. Following the lead of the Washington Tree Fruit Association and the New York Apple Association, the PAMB approved the $20,000 funding commitment to CPS with the intent to vote again in two years for an additional three years of funding.

Source: Produce News

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