Shifting focus from the wholesale market to retail sales and value-added products is helping some growers survive in a tough, competitive tree fruit market.
New York family farms are aligning themselves more closely with consumers through various means, including U-pick operations, distinctive varieties, delivery to farmers’ markets, and value-added products like juices and blends, apple wines, and apple hard cider.
Much of New York’s tree fruit production is situated within 50 miles of large population centers or in scenic areas that draw tourists. Some farmers are taking advantage of their access to customers, offering a small portion of their fruit to the public to supplement income, while sending the majority of their crop to a commercial packer for the wholesale market. Two such farms are profiled in the next few pages.