Good Fruit Grower

November 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 55

32 NOVEMBER 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Tough times on the CONCORD BELT PENN. North East Erie 90 SOURCE: LAKE ERIE CONCORD GRAPE BELT ASSOCIATION I t's called the Concord Belt, a narrow ribbon of fl at land about 60 miles long and two to six miles wide, tucked between the shore of Lake Erie and the Allegheny Plateau Escarpment in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. That area, with its climate moderated by the lake, is said to be the oldest Concord grape growing region in the world; it's the largest area of grapes east of the Rocky Mountains. The region has 525 growers with about 32,000 acres of grapes, most of them Concords and Niagara juice grapes, but with some wine grapes, making up about two-thirds of the tonnage of grapes grown in New York. But growers in the Concord Belt are having to bore a new hole or two in their own belts and cinch them a bit tighter. They are adjusting to a combination of poor markets and bad weather that will cause the region to contract its output by 10 percent or more, says Kevin Martin, an extension educator in fi nancial planning and business management and part of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP). Growers facing diffi culties with both juice and wine grapes. by Richard Lehnert Grapes "To survive a long period of lower prices, growers will need to reduce business expenditures by over $10 mil- lion dollars per year," he said. "Growers may also need to reduce personal expenditures as income declines." LERGP is a joint program between New York's Cornell University and Penn State. Martin works for Penn State. The Concord grape is native to North America. It was selected and propagated from wild seedlings by Ephraim Kevin Martin cites weather and poor markets as causes for consternation in the Concord Belt. At the research and extension station in Portland, New York, a support team called the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program works to help both wine and juice grape growers. This vineyard was killed by cold last winter.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - November 2015