• If you find a wooden apple like this one in a Vermont orchard, you can turn it in for a free iPod (Photo courtesy of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing)

Fall is in full swing, and in the
northern states, what better way to appreciate
the time of year than to go apple picking?
It’s the fall thing to do, right? Well, not
for everyone. Lulu Miller reports:


Fall is in full swing, and in the
northern states, what better way to appreciate
the time of year than to go apple picking?
It’s the fall thing to do, right? Well, not
for everyone. Lulu Miller reports:

“Ooh that’s perfect! Perfect fall day. Little Chill in the air.”

That’s orchard owner Nick Cowles and we’re here with him at his orchard.

“Beautiful apple!”

Shelburne Orchards. Near Burlington Vermont.

“Looks out over Lake Champlain.”

And to hear him to tell it, an afternoon spent apple picking is pretty much as
good as it gets.

“Yeah. There’s something about gathering food with your family that’s primal
almost. I see people show up in their cars. The dad, the face is a little pinched. He
had to get the kids in the car. They didn’t really wanna come. His whole life is
stress. And then by the time, the difference in the face when he’s leavin’, it’s just
a whole different face.”

Everyone’s dream weekend, right?

Well. Not exactly. There is one group of people who just aren’t all that thrilled
about fall leaves and apple picking.

“Well yeah. The demographics of Vermont are a little scary right now. We have
the least number of folks in there 20s in the country.”

That’s Bruce Hyde, Commissioner of Tourism for the state of Vermont. He says
the 20-somethings are missing.

“I can understand after going to one of the great colleges we have in a rural state,
that a lot of folks wanna go and experience the big cities and sow their oats.”

And so, as the guy in charge of tourism, Bruce has a mission.

“We’re really trying to attract more young people to the state of Vermont.”

And here’s what he’s up against.

Lulu Miller: “Just wondering if you guys have any plans to go apple picking this

Student: “Not really. I’m not really into apples.”

Miller: “No?”

Student: “My age? It’s kind of about the debauchery. Sleeping in on Saturdays.
Not going apple picking with the folks. You know?”

I’m talking to college students in a park near New York University.

Student: “It’s not something that I would hear my friends being like, ‘can’t hang
out on Saturday! Going apple picking!’ I just can’t imagine that coming out of
their mouths.”

So what’s a commissioner of tourism to do?

“We were trying to figure out, what’s a way to get more young people into the
orchards? So we came up with an idea. A cute little idea.”

If apples just weren’t enticing enough to lure people to Vermont, Comissioner
Hyde thought, maybe there’s something else they’d prefer to find in the trees.

“An iPod!”

That’s right in the apple trees of Vermont.

“Macintosh. Courtlans. Red delicious.”

You can find iPods.

“Nano’s. A couple of touch’s. And the just the classic iPod.”

Now they’re not actually dangling from the trees.

“What we did is we made up wooden apples. They have the state seal on them.”

And if you find that, you can turn it and get an ipod.

“Yeah. And it really has brought a lot of people into the orchards. We haven’t
done any kinda survey. But the response I’ve heard from orchards is they’ve
never seen so few apples left on the trees.”

Orchard owner Nick Cowles agrees.

“Lotta people know about it, have heard about it. ‘Come on mom, lets go look
for the iPod!’ It’s a great program. It does what it set out to do. It really helps the
orchards. They’ve been very smart to do this.”

So what do the college students think?

Student: (laughs) “They’res gonna be iPods with apples!? No way!”

Miller: “Would that make you go? Would it up the ante at all?”

Student: “It absolutely does. I would definitely go apple picking if there was a
chance I could stumble across an iPod.”

But not all of them feel that way, in fact many of them pointed out that luring
people with iPods sounds so wrong. Kinda grinds against the notion of getting
people out into nature.

“Does that feel wrong? No.”

Orchard owner Nick Cowles.

“In my estimation, anything that brings families together, outside, doing
something like that – it doesn’t get any better than that. They’re out in the
orchard, runnin’ around, picking apples – that’s healthy. They’re doin’ it as a

(boys laughing. “Hey find me an apple!”

Apples. iPods. Whatever it takes.

For The Environment Report, I’m Lulu Miller.

(sound of biting an apple)

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