Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Fruit

Apples

  • The 2020 national apple crop is estimated at 253,305,000 42-pound boxes, or 10.6 billion pounds, about 2% below the 5-year average. New York’s apple crop is estimated at 32,000,000 boxes, or 1.3 billion pounds, just under 1% higher than the 5-year average.
  • Earlier concerns about negative sales impacts due to COVID-19 have faded, and sales have generally been adequate to clear the stored crop and move sufficient new harvest volume. The USDA food box program helped by including apples in some cases.
  • Packing houses and migrant worker housing present particular challenges related to COVID-19. Keeping workers safe may require alterations to facilities and operations, increasing costs and reducing efficiency. Some producers have had outbreaks at their farms resulting in operational disruptions and negative publicity in some cases.
  • Retail traffic at pick-your-own operations and farm stands has generally exceeded expectations, however social distancing requirements has limited capacity in some cases and been a challenge to enforce with retail customers.

Wine

  • COVID-19 has had a major impact on this sector. Bars and restaurants mostly closed early on and are only gradually reopening. Liquor store sales have increased as people shelter at home, but sales of wines and spirits are still down overall. Tasting rooms, a major source of revenue for most Northeast wineries, have reopened, but some are required to limit their capacity. Retail sales vary substantially, some report strong visitor counts, while others remain down.

Cranberries

  • Retail sales have increased substantially as a result of COVID-19 which has helped juice sales immensely and resulted in higher pricing at Ocean Spray. A lack of fruit on the market has also had an upward impact on independent pricing.