Senator Ritchie's Community Spotlight: Local Apple Orchards & Cider Mills

Senator Patty Ritchie

September 14, 2018

Senator Ritchie's Weekly Column

Students are back in school and it will not be long before the leaves start to turn and the air gets a bit more crisp and cool. It may not have seemed likely just a few weeks ago, but these are sure signs fall is just around the corner. Autumn in New York State is one of the best times of year, and one that draws visitors from both near and far to our local apple orchards.

Throughout the fall, apple orchards across our region will be open and many different apple varieties will be ready to pick. These apples not only taste great off the tree, but also many will be used in tasty items like hot cider donuts, pies, cider and much more.

In this year’s budget—which featured a record $54.4 million for agriculture—I was also able to help secure funding to ensure our apple industry grows through agritourism efforts, which bring in visitors who support our local businesses and economies. Included in the budget is funding for the New York State Apple Growers Association and the Apple Research and Development Advisory Board.

That money will go a long way in ensuring our local orchards and cider mills in Oswego, St. Lawrence and Jefferson County can continue to thrive and provide guests the very best in apples the Empire State has to offer.

In our region, there are ten different orchards producing some of those very apples including six in Oswego County and four in St. Lawrence County.  In addition to dozens upon dozens of variety of apples, many of our U-pick orchards offer other locally made products featuring apples and other family fun activities:











In addition to our wonderful U-pick orchards, there are also two cider mills in our region featuring locally made products such as cider and donuts. Some are even part of the fastest growing cider product New York State has, hard cider.



In order to ensure these mills and others around the state can continue to create the very best products in the country, I was proud to have also secured $75,000 for the New York Cider Association and $200,000 for Cornell’s Hard Cider Research program in our state budget.

This fall, I hope you and your family will be able to visit our local orchards and cider mills, run by our hardworking farmers who not only feed us but attract visitors to help grow our North Country and Central New York communities.