Many of the state’s growing areas, Gregg pointed out, are within one tank of gas of 30 million consumers.
New this year in stores will be point-of-sale signs from the association aimed to cash in on the locally grown trend, Gregg said. Generic “New Crop” signs will be accompanied by two variety-specific ones: “New Crop McIntosh and New Crop Empires.”
Also part of the point-of-sale campaign are banners, display wraps and new health cards, Gregg said. The association also has created a new poster with a stick-on “New Crop!” starburst.
Even with the recession looming, the locally grown movement should keep demand for East Coast apples “pretty high on the East Coast,” said Peter Forrence, vice president of Forrence Orchards Inc., Peru, N.Y.
New York City and, to a lesser extent, Boston, have proven to be outstanding locally grown markets for Forrence Orchards, Forrence said.
The locally grown boom is a big reason Forrence Orchards has plans to expand its 5-pound tote bag sales this year, Forrence said.
“It seems more like they (consumers) are buying it at the orchard,” Forrence said, explaining the appeal. “They’re not buying a prepackaged cellophane bag.”
Rice also expects continued strong sales of 5-pound totes in the 2009-10 season.
“They’ve had a tremendous amount of play the last five years,” he said.