New York agriculture commissioner celebrates 10th anniversary of 'Taste NY'
New York’s agriculture commissioner is touring the state, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Taste NY program. The program certifies, promotes, and supports local food and beverage producers across the state.
Commissioner Richard Ball was at the Southern Tier Welcome Center to celebrate Taste NY’s anniversary Wednesday. The welcome center offers local foods, beverages, and souvenirs, including spiedie sauces from Lupo’s and Salamida, and pasta sauce from Little Venice in downtown Binghamton.
Local vendors offered samples of fudge, ice cream, and maple syrup at the anniversary celebration.
“The most important part really is our vendors, our producers, and our farmers that are with us here today,” Ball said. “All local to this region, all selling their products right here in this welcome center, and in many places around the state."
Amy Willis oversees Taste NY’s food system programs for the Cornell Cooperative Extension, which helps run a commercial kitchen at the Taste NY location on Front Street in Binghamton.
“We have supported over 150 vendors in bringing over 500 products to market in 2022,” Willis said. “The Southern Tier Welcome Center had sales totaling over $695,000, a 20% increase from 2021, and had over 575,000 visitors to our center.”
Andy Lagoe co-owns Gilligan’s Ice Cream, based in Sherburne, Chenango County.
Gilligan’s Ice Cream joined Taste NY in 2018 when the company started selling its small-batch ice cream wholesale. Lagoe said the program has helped them build a strong relationship with local dairy farms. They use local dairy in their products and sell those products at farm stands.
"We source our ingredients from the farms. But then we can give back and sell our products at the farm stands," Lugoe said. "And so it's a great circle that works great for us. And Taste New York really has facilitated that for us."
Taste NY now has stores and locations across the state. Officials like Ball say it’s had a more than $100 million benefit to the program’s participants since it started.