(Dec. 30) VIENNA, Va. — Julia Daly, vice president of public relations for the U.S. Apple Association, will step down Jan. 15 after 10 years with the organization.

Daly is leaving the position to start her own company, a public relations consulting firm called Clarity Communications LLC, which will be based in Ashburn.

“I’m planning to continue focusing on public relations with an eye toward food and preferably healthy foods,” she said. “I’ve gotten very spoiled working for the produce industry. For me the sayings ‘an apple a day’ and ‘5 a Day’ are really ways of life.”

Daly said she would like to continue to have a relationship with the association, but it is too soon to tell whether and in what capacity that will happen.

“That will be up to (association president) Nancy Foster and the board,” she said.

Foster could not be reached for comment.

Daly, who founded the association’s public relations program, said the decision to leave was not an easy one.

“U.S. Apple has been a fabulous experience,” she said. “The association has been involved in every major activity, issue or subject that the apple industry has been involved with in the last 10 years. And I’ve been right there at the front for just about all of it.”

Daly said her new business will focus on providing public relations for companies that manufacture healthful foods, most preferably within the produce industry.

“Personally, health and nutrition are very important to me,” she said, “so I plan to stick to the products, industries and messages that I can personally believe in.”