Close your eyes and picture an orchard in your mind. What do you see? You probably are envisioning a sprawling field with rows of gorgeous apple trees. Each apple tree is in full bloom, the fruits adorning every branch, just begging to be harvested. Now take that orchard and replant it atop a barge in the Hudson River, and you have New York’s very own floating food forest.
Strongbow Cider, in strategic partnership with the organization Swale, has created a unique initiative called Nature Remix, which is aimed at helping New Yorkers reinvent their connection with nature. Strongbow’s marketing campaign also highlights the brand’s natural cider flavors, including the fruity and aromatic Cherry Blossom and the sweet and crisp Gold Apple. In an effort to solidify the program’s future success, Strongbow Cider signed on as the official sponsor of Swale through 2017.
“Nature is at the core of Strongbow. We care for more than one billion bittersweet apples every year, and use other natural flavors, like honey, orange and cherry blossom, in our ciders,” said Jessica Robinson, vice president of marketing, portfolio brands at Heineken USA. “We encourage everyone to find their own natural escape, whether it’s enjoying a respite on a floating food forest circling New York City, or sharing a glass of Strongbow with friends.”
Swale officially opened to the public on May 3, with a launch party where attendees enjoyed Strongbow’s ciders and toured the orchard. The launch party also kicked off Strongbow’s national seed initiative: in an effort to encourage and inspire container gardening, Strongbow offered 100,000 sustainable seed coasters, containing an estimated one million basil and sage herb seeds, to people across the country.
Traveling from pier to pier around New York City on the Hudson River, the floating orchard offers educational programming to visitors and also encourages visitors to harvest the bounty of fruits and vegetables entirely for free. On the deck of the massive vessel, one can wander through and pick from the bounty of plant life aboard the 130-foot barge. Swale contains 5,000 square feet of edible forest garden, which has a dual function of being both a display of public art and providing a service of fresh, healthy food. Newtown Pippin apples, Liberty apples and the Pennsylvania blackberry are among the array of fruit trees, shrubs and herbs within the orchard.
“Strongbow and Swale have received extremely positive feedback from visitors of the floating orchard,” said Maggie MacKenzie, an assistant account executive at Current, a marketing firm that represents Strongbow. “People are surprised to learn that everything growing on the barge is edible, and it serves as a food forest and access to fresh, healthy food to New Yorkers. People really enjoy the nature aspect being aboard Swale. It’s hard to come across that much nature in New York City, so providing New Yorkers with a dose of nature while aboard a floating food forest is very unique.”
Swale will be open to the public through the end of November. See here for more information about Strongbow’s Nature Remix initiative.
- Photos: Strongbow Cider