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Fishers, N.Y. – What do symbolic mud bricks, bicycles and spring blossom peeping have in common? They are all examples of community events that the New York state apple industry is supporting across New York City this spring – donating apples for Passover Seder plates, riders biking across the five boroughs, and residents looking for local food and travel fun.

"We believe in 'doing well by doing good', that succeeding in our work must include supporting our community," said New York Apple Association (NYAA) President Jim Allen. "We look for events that tie into our focus on local food, nutrition and health."

Local apples help kosher soup kitchen clients observe Passover
For a third year, New York state apple growers helped ensure that local families facing hunger had apples to make Charoset for Passover Seder in April.

The state's apple industry donated apples to help the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network, a local nonprofit kosher soup kitchen and food pantry, provide Charoset kits for more than 12,000 local residents. NYAA donated more than 4,000 pounds of mixed varieties of apples, provided by D'Arrigo Bros. Co. NY, Inc., The Bronx; those apples were from Northern Orchards in Peru, N.Y. In addition, New York Apple Sales, Inc. of Glenmont also donated 6,400 pounds of Empire apples from central New York.

Charoset is a traditional food served during Seder, the evening ritual that observes the beginning of Passover (which was April 3-11 this year). Charoset is a paste made of sweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Symbolically, it represents the mud that the ancient Israelites used to make bricks while enslaved in Egypt.

"New York's apple growers are honored each year to be able to help so many local families to observe this iconic Passover tradition," said NYAA's Allen. "As producers of the icon of health, it is fitting that we work to fight hunger in our community this way."

"With the help of the New York apple industry, Masbia Soup Kitchen Network's Charoset Drive was able to feed over 12,000 needy New Yorkers with food for Passover. Most significantly, their donation enabled us to distribute apples to make the traditional Charoset used during each Seder service," said the network's Executive Director Alexander Rapaport.

TD Five Boro Bike Tour sponsorship promotes healthy habits
NYAA sponsored the TD Five Boro Bike Tour on Sunday, May 3, providing apples and apple health information at rest areas along the 40-mile route through Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

This is the second year the apple industry has supported this event, which attracts cyclists from around the area – and around the world. NYAA donated about 7,000 pounds of Empire apples, sourced from New York Apple Sales and grown across Wayne County.

More than 30,000 cyclists participated in the 38th annual trek through all five boroughs. The sold-out tour is organized by Bike New York.

"Apples are a healthy food and biking is a healthy habit – so this is a match made on a bike path in heaven," said NYAA's Allen.

"NYAA's apples were the perfect endurance booster for our cyclists," said Ken Podziba, Bike New York's president & CEO. "And given our focus on making the tour a sustainable event that celebrates healthy lifestyles, we're so pleased that NYAA was able to provide locally grown apples for our riders."

NYAA Consulting Dietitian Nutritionist Linda Quinn, MS, RDN – an avid cyclist herself – explained that apples' high fiber content slows the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, providing the energy needed for a long ride.

Bike New York calls the tour the "world's largest charitable bike ride"; proceeds fund the group's free bicycle education classes for children and adults.

Local food and travel expo promotes apples, apple tourism
Locavores and travel bugs alike attended EscapeMaker.com's fourth Local Food & Travel Expo on Saturday, May 2 at Brooklyn Borough Hall, sampling apples while learning about apple-centric and other agricultural getaway vacation ideas within a few hours of New York City.

Over 2,000 residents of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island registered for the free event, which highlighted local attractions, food and farms in Brooklyn as well as culinary and agritourism destinations across New York state. New York State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams helped kick off the event with NYAA's Allen and representatives from sponsors Amtrak and car2go by cutting "the ribbon" that was very fitting for the occasion: a string of apple blossoms.

NYAA was a supporting sponsor of the EscapeMaker expo, handing out tasty New York state apples and information about apple health benefits. The association donated 1,700 apples of mixed varieties, sourced from Wiklow Orchards in Highland, N.Y.

"The New York state apple industry not only produces delicious apples and beverages, we also make for great weekend outings around the state, from blossom-peeping drives in the spring to apple picking and hard cider-tasting outings in the fall," said NYAA's Allen. "We know consumers want to connect with the people who supply their food, this event helps them do that as part of our NYC Applelooza campaign."

"The apples were the hit of our expo. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to promote apple agritourism at all of our NYC Applelooza events throughout the rest of the year, especially after this amazing reception," said EscapeMaker.com President and Founder Caylin Sanders.

Note to editors:
Photos are available to support this story via NYAA's Flickr photo-sharing site. NYAA grants permission for use of our photos in editorial coverage.

About New York Apple Association, Inc.
A nonprofit agricultural trade association based in Fishers, N.Y., NYAA represents the state’s commercial apple growers. The association supports profitable growing and marketing of New York apples through increasing demand for apples and apple products, representing the industry at state and federal levels, and serving as the primary information source on New York apple-related matters. For more information, visit www.nyapplecountry.com.