A network of farmers focused on finding the most ecological way to grow fruit in the Northeast have increased by more than 50% in certified Eco Apple acres for the 2016 season. Fifteen orchards have earned Eco Apple certification for the 2016 season, representing a combined 1,436 acres, a 53% increase over previous years. The Eco Apple program began in 2005 with six orchards on 400 acres.
“The Eco Apple program aligns with our philosophy perfectly,” noted Greg Parzych, Vice President of Rogers Orchards in Southington, CT. “Our decision to expand our Eco Apple acreage to 100% of the farm reflects our desire to implement progressive growing practices on a commercial level. As stewards of the land, we strive to raise a viable and high-quality crop in the most ecologically responsible way.”
Rogers Orchards, founded in 1809, is one of the largest in Connecticut and a longtime participant in the program.
The Eco Apple program is a third party growing and certification program, a partnership between farmers and scientific advisors, to advance the most progressive and environmentally responsible growing practices for tree fruit in the Northeast. Orchards are certified annually by the IPM Institute of North America, based on a rigorous protocol, verified by an annual audit and regular on-farm inspections. The protocol is reviewed annually by both growers and scientists to stay abreast of current research and best practices.