Sixteen orchards in the Northeast U.S. are now Eco Apple certified for 2017.

The Eco Apple program, a partnership of farmers and science advisors, supports farmers using eco-sensitive, minimally treated and natural growing methods for apples, according to a news release. The Madison, Wis.-based nonprofit IPM Institute of North America certifies qualifying orchards.

The 2017 Eco Apple producers are:

  •  Blue Hills Orchards, Wallingford, Conn.;
  •  Lyman Orchards, Middlefield, Conn.;
  •  Rogers Orchards, Southington, Conn.;
  •  Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.;
  •  Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont, N.Y.;
  •  Kleins Kill Fruit Farm, Germantown, N.Y.;
  •  Mead Orchards, Tivoli, N.Y.;
  •  Orbaker’s Fruit Farm, Williamson, N.Y.;
  •  Sullivan Orchards, Peru, N.Y.;
  •  Champlain Orchards, Shoreham, Vt.;
  •  Scott Farm, Dummerston, Vt.;
  •  Sunrise Orchards, Cornwall, Vt.;
  •  Clark Brothers Orchard, Ashfield, Mass.;
  •  Davidian Brothers Farms, Northborough, Mass.;
  •  Phoenix Fruit Farm, Belchertown, Mass.; and
  •  Schlegel Fruit Farm, Dalmatia, Pa.

Farmers use the eco-friendly practices to reduce risks for humans, pollinators and the environment.

IPM analyzes the orchards using its Pesticide Risk Tool, which measures different levels of pest management treatments. Since 2004, Eco-certified orchards have lowered the use of high-risk chemicals by 59%, according to the release.

“The pressure from pests and disease in an orchard can vary from year to year due to weather and other conditions, but the goal of the Eco program is to steadily reduce overall risk over time,” Thomas Green, entomologist and president of IPM Institute, said in the release. “We are encouraged to see the data indicate that is happening.”

Red Tomato, a nonproft food hub, began the program in 2005 with six orchards.