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Published September 07, 2011, 04:18 PM

RI showcases apple crop after Tropical Storm Irene

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island officials are highlighting the apple crop after a portion of the harvest was wiped out last month by Tropical Storm Irene.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island officials are highlighting the apple crop after a portion of the harvest was wiped out last month by Tropical Storm Irene.

Ken Ayars, the agricultural chief for the state Department of Environmental Management, said Wednesday federal officials estimate as much as 20 to 30 percent of the apple harvest was lost in some counties due to the storm.

Ayars says the strong harvest this year is buffering some of those losses. Farmers hurt by the storm can qualify for low-interest federal loans.

Officials are visiting four orchards statewide on Wednesday to promote the apple crop and encourage residents to buy locally. This is the first time the state is hosting a kickoff event for the apple harvest season.

There are 24 commercial orchards statewide.

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