"Excellent flavor and large fruit size are characteristic of this year's 'vintage' Ohio apple crop," announced John Wargowsky, promotions coordinator for the Ohio Apple Marketing Program. "The apple color knocks your socks off," said Dano Simmons of Peace Valley Orchards in Columbiana County. "Harvest continues to run ahead of schedule according to reports from apple growers throughout the state," Wargowsky added.

October marks National Apple Month, which dates back to Halloween, October 31, 1905, when Captain James Handly of Quincy, Illinois started distributing gift apples to school children and extolling the fruit's virtues. The health benefits of apples and apple products were first recorded as early as medieval times, leading to the relatively recent saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Apples' healthy attributes received considerable renewed interest recently, following the publication of several studies linking nutrients found in apples and apple products to an impressive range of health benefits such as the following:
  • "Nature," June 2000: Researchers at Cornell University found that phytonutrients in apples inhibited the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells in vitro ("in the laboratory").

  • "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition," May 2000: Finnish researchers found that individuals who ate the most apples had the lowest risk of thrombotic stroke, possibly due to the phytonutrients found in the apples.

  • "Thorax," January 2000: British researchers found that apple eaters had better lung function than non-apple eaters, as measured by forced expiratory volume.

  • "Journal of the National Cancer Institute," January 2000. Researchers in Hawaii found that an increased consumption of quercetin (from apples and onions) was associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer.
Apple cider production is in full swing. Apples and apple cider are available at farm markets and grocery stores. "Some popular apple varieties are already sold out so be alert for the harvest dates of your favorites," advised Mitch Lynd of Lynd Fruit Farm in Licking County. Apple recipes may be found at www.usapple.org or www.aboutproduce.com. For more recipes call 1-800-IMPROUD (467-7683) and ask for a free copy of the "Ohio Farmers Market Directory" AND the "OHIO Apples...Appealing in many ways" recipe booklet. This directory will help you locate farm markets that sell apples. Many Ohio apple growers with farm markets have recipes available upon request.

For more information contact John Wargowsky, Ohio Apple Marketing Program at (614) 249-2424 or e-mail jwargows@ofbf.org . More information on health research is available.