(Jan. 30) The New York Apple Association’s annual apple display contest for defense commissaries is under way, and this year’s grand prize is one free registration and lodging for the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2007 in Houston.

The contest highlights appealing and creative uses of New York apples and point-of-sale materials, said David McClurg, vice president of marketing for the Fishers-based association.

“We wanted to do something different. We’ve given out (display) racks for a number of years,” McClurg said. “PMA (Fresh Summit) is a great prize.”

The association also plans to award second, third and fourth prizes of $700, $500, and $300 in gift certificates for Harrison, Ohio-based Hubert Co., a merchandising equipment company.

Not only can they win prizes, but commissaries also can enjoy increases in apple sales by putting up the displays, McClurg said. Some have had sales jump by 50% while the displays were up, he said.

And, McClurg said, all varieties of New York apples coming out of controlled-atmosphere storage this time of year are good enough to keep customers coming back.

“The empires, especially, are crunchy and tasty and delicious,” he said.

To be eligible for prizes, displays must mention New York apples or use the association’s Apple Country logo. The displays also must include at least three varieties of New York-grown apples in bags or in bulk.

The contest runs through March 24, and displays must be up for at least three weeks, McClurg said. Any U.S. Defense Commissary Agency commissary may participate.

Apple group sponsors defense commissary contest
The Fort Drum, N.Y., military commissary won one of the 2006 prizes in the New York Apple Association’s apple display contest. This year the association plans to award a grand prize of free registration and lodging for the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2007 in Houston.