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The year's apple harvest is now underway across New York, and the state's apple association is forecasting greater variety with ample supplies soon to be found at area grocery stores, farm stands and greenmarkets.

"Apple fans, this is your signal to get your taste buds ready – the country's best apples are on the way," said New York Apple Association (NYAA) President Jim Allen. "Growers are now picking fruit statewide, from Orange County outside of New York City to the northern Adirondacks, from Albany to the western lakes."

New York is forecasted to harvest 26.2 million cartons this year, or about 13 apples for each of the state's 19.75 million residents if those apples stayed in state. In fact, the state's apples are sold from New England to Florida, and about 10 percent of the crop is exported each year says NYAA.

The 2015 crop is expected to be slightly smaller than the state's average over the past five years of 30 million cartons, but consumers won't notice the difference, said Allen. What consumers will notice, he says, is that thanks to new plantings they can find more of the new apple varieties that they love – such as Honeycrisp – alongside their old New York state favorites – such as McIntosh and Empire. The new varieties RubyFrost® and SnapDragon® can only be grown by select New York state growers.

Allen urged New Yorkers to support the state's apple growers and cider makers by buying local.

"We are the second-largest apple growing state in the nation, so apple fans don't have to look any further for great apples," said Allen. "They will be glad they did, because closer means fresher, more flavorful apples."

For variety information, recipes and to find pick-your-own orchards, farm markets, green markets or cider producers, visit www.nyapplecountry.com - type a zip code into the handy locator map on the home page to find nearby sources.

New cider website unveiled
New this year: the NYAA website devoted to apple cider has been refreshed. NYCider.com now has more information about both sweet and hard cider, including how cider is made, nutrition and videos. A cider-specific locator map on the home page helps consumers find sweet and hard ciders nearby. An expanded recipe section includes recipes that feature apple cider, from appetizers to entrees to desserts.

The site was overhauled to provide more information about New York state hard cider in particular, said Allen, and to make it mobile friendly for today's on-the-go consumers.

"The hard cider industry is exploding in New York state, thanks to consumers' interest in craft beverages and local foods," said Allen. "The new site helps bring together sweet and hard cider lovers with the dedicated producers who make them."

Note to reporters and editors:
• NYAA now has more resources to help you report on the New York state apple industry. Visit our online press room for photos, spokesgrower contacts and more. New! a monthly calendar of what's happening in the orchard, and apple story ideas - there is more to cover than "just" our great taste!
• To learn more about RubyFrost, SnapDragon and the grower cooperative that grows them, visit http://www.crunchtimeapplegrowers.com/.

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.