Cornell donated 23 tons of fruit to local food pantries

Staff at Cornell’s Hudson Valley Research Laboratory and members of the local community harvest apples that will be donated to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. (Ulster Corps / Provided)

The Hudson Valley Research Laboratory (HVRL), a Cornell University center for tree fruit research in Highland, donated 47,000 pounds of apples and pears, more than 23 tons, to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and Ulster Corps this fall.

The contribution has helped support the 40,000 people in need of food assistance in the greater Hudson Valley region, according to a release.

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HVRL produces 20 varieties of pears and apples commonly grown by commercial and organic orchards in New York state. Its 21-acre orchard conducts horticultural, insect and disease management research.

“2020 has been a tough year for families everywhere given the pandemic and its economic impacts, so donating our fruit is a perfect way to give back,” said Peter Jentsch, superintendent of HVRL. “As Cornell employees, we feel an inherent call to help others not only through our research but also through acts of kindness.”

This year, members of the local community, students from the The Mount Academy and Ulster Corps, plus volunteers from across the tri-state region joined HVRL staff in harvesting the fruit.

Their collective efforts stocked the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and Ulster Corps with Bartlett and Bosc pears, as well as apple varieties including Zestar, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, EverCrisp, Crimson Crisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, Goldrush and RubyFrost, which was developed at Cornell.

“It’s been our privilege to serve those in need alongside generous members of the community who came out to help us harvest this year,” Jentsch said. “We are passionate about keeping these efforts going in years to come.”

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