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How about these apples: New York City schools now distribute a whopping 35 million New York state apples to schoolchildren each year. That makes New York City schools the single-largest customer of the entire New York state apple industry!

To celebrate this mutually healthy relationship, the state's apple association has produced an educational video that the New York City Department of Education is now sharing with students and their families citywide.

The 3-minute video was produced by New York Apple Association (NYAA), and was recorded in picturesque orchards across New York state – including the lower Hudson Valley, where most of the apples shipped to New York City schools are grown. The video is packed with kid-friendly information about how apples are grown, their health benefits and the New York state industry.

Spokesgrower and narrator Bruce shares interesting details about modern apple growing – for example, he notes that today's growers use high-tech dwarf trees and tree trellis systems, while still relying on decidedly low-tech honeybees to pollinate their crops. An infographic covers the New York City skyline in apple pies. NYAA nutrition spokesperson Linda Quinn reports on recent research about the benefits to children of eating apples. The video also encourages family-friendly outings to local a pick-your-own orchards.

In the finale, a group of schoolchildren joins Bruce in the orchard to enthusiastically announce that New York City schools now serve more than 35 million New York state apples per year.

NYCDOE, Cuomo administration credited for "buy local" focus
NYAA President Jim Allen commended New York City Department of Education's Office of School Support Services for its strong "buy local" focus – that's the group that buys food for and runs the foodservice program at New York City's 1,800 schools.

"We are proud to serve New York City school children locally sourced, healthy produce, including over 35 million apples a year grown in New York State. This not only adds to our healthy menu options, it helps us teach kids about the benefits of farm-to-table eating and supports our local food producers," said the service's Chief Executive Officer Eric Goldstein.

NYAA's Allen also gave nods to state Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

"Both of these very influential officials have been vocal, passionate and tireless advocates for New York state agriculture, we wouldn't have gotten here today without them," said Allen. "The singular purpose of the Governor's 'Taste NY' program is to create customers for local foods and beverages. Meanwhile, Commissioner Ball has vowed to 'make New York New York's customer' and revitalized his department's 'Pride of New York' buy local program."

For example, on Sept. 28, the Cuomo administration announced $350,000 in new funding to help school districts across the state to connect with local growers and producers.

"New York state has been working hard to strengthen the connection between our farmers and our schools statewide. We not only want to make sure that our schoolchildren have access to fresh, healthy foods, but also that they know where their food comes from," said Commissioner Ball. "This new video is a fantastic way to help us continue to connect the dots, spotlight the apple industry and educate our children about New York agriculture."

How to watch the video
The city's education department will circulate the video online to schools, students and their families, including via the city's school menu website. The video – titled "From Blossom to Awesome", a recurring theme in NYAA's consumer communications – can also be viewed on NYAA's YouTube channel.

The video about local apples was also locally written and produced. Mason Marketing LLC of Penfield, N.Y., wrote the video's script; Crystal Pix of Fairport, N.Y., produced it.

Looking for family-friendly recipes featuring New York state apples? Visit www.nyapplecountry.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.