The Food Bank has always had strong support from apple growers throughout our 23-county region. When growers have apples that are wholesome, but not marketable due to surplus or not meeting retail grade specifications, they know they can partner with the Food Bank to find homes for as many as possible.

The frost last May caused major crop impact after warm weather brought on early blooms resulting in apples that grew off-color and size. Processing and juice markets nationwide were already saturated with supply carried over from the prior season leaving few options for this year’s harvest. The Food Bank is proud to work with our dedicated farm partners to provide solutions for any fresh produce, and when we have more than we can use, we share with other food banks.

Some of these apples come to us boxed and ready-to-go. For those that come in large 800-pound bins, we turn to our wonderful volunteers to sort and pack them into boxes to be more easily handled for distribution to the partner agencies we serve helping our neighbors in need.

Since the start of the 2023-24 apple season in September, we have received more than 500,000 pounds of apples from growers from the Champlain Valley to the Hudson Valley, including Crist Bros. Orchards in Walden, Orange County. Joel Crist said, “Crist Bros. has always felt strongly about supporting our local community. Our partnership with the Food Bank has enabled us to deliver a consistent supply of over 25,000 pounds each month of healthy, fresh, great-tasting apples to those in need.”