ALBANY Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say they've successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use $11.5 million to buy concord grape juice for use in domestic nutrition programs such as school lunches.
The U.S. grape industry has a surplus of Concord grapes used to make juice due to a large 2013 crop. The senators wrote to the USDA to help purchase some of the surplus to ensure that prices remain stable for the industry ahead of the 2014 harvest.
New York has 281 growers and over 9,700 acres of Concord vineyards in western and central New York and the Finger Lakes.
The purchase will also benefit growers in Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, and Indiana.