The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Agriculture, in cooperation with the RI Fruit Growers Association, will host Rhode Island's apple harvest kick-off on Wednesday, September 2. The fourth Apple Harvest Day will focus attention on the state's apple industry and the fresh harvest at the time when many popular varieties of apples are ready for picking.
The event will take place at Steere Orchard at 150 Austin Ave. in Greenville, the largest orchard in Rhode Island. Steere Orchard is a fourth generation family orchard that was started around 1930 by Arthur W. Steere with his son, Henry J. Steere. Today, Jim Steere, grandson of the orchard's founder, continues the tradition with his son.
Ken Ayars, chief of DEM's Division of Agriculture will join President Kerri Stenovitch and other representatives from the RI Fruit Growers Association and the URI Cooperative Extension to focus on the importance of providing fresh, local apple products to schools, restaurants, small markets and grocers in the state. The public is invited to attend the event.
The fruit growers report that a plentiful and delicious apple crop is available for the public to enjoy this year. There are many commercial orchards in Rhode Island, and the opportunity to pick-your-own is offered at nearly all of them. Apple varieties currently available for picking include Macintosh, Paula Reds, Gala, and Honey Crisps. More varieties will become available as the season progresses. .
Apples have been an integral part of the state's agriculture since the 1600s. The first North American variety, Yellow Sweeting, was developed by William Blackstone in Cumberland. The Rhode Island Greening apple, which was developed in 1796 and originally from the Green End area of Newport, is the State Fruit and continues to be an important apple variety for both commercial and home use. .
Rhode Island's Apple Harvest Day is an outgrowth of an event launched in Massachusetts six years ago by the New England Apple Association with support from the Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture. Rhode Island joins all the other New England states in hosting apple harvest day promotional events in their respective states. .
For a list of pick-your-own orchards, visit http://www.rifruitgrowers.org/pickyourown/