NETWORKING ...

Connecting local buyers & sellers

Event brought together farm businesses, buyers and distributors

Soukup Farms Staff at the B.F.F. event. (Courtesy Photo)

MILLBROOK, N.Y. — Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCEDC) hosted a “Speed Networking with Your B.F.F.  – Businesses, Foods and Farms” event on January 23rd.  This was an effort to bring together farm businesses, buyers and distributors affiliated with the Taste NY Market at Todd Hill, as well as vendors interested in selling product at Todd Hill and other Taste NY venues. This was also CCEDC’s kickoff Taste NY education and networking event for the 2017 year.

CCEDC and Taste NY Todd Hill Staff at the B.F.F. event. (Courtesy Photo)

Sixty people attended the event hosted at Dutch’s Spirits in Pine Plains. Lydia Higginson, CEO of Dutch’s Spirits, remarked, “Dutch’s Spirits at Harvest Homestead Farm, Pine Plains was delighted to host CCEDC’s first B.F.F. event.  It was a great networking opportunity and we hope the first of an annual tradition.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Taste NY is an exciting way to brand and promote all of our great New York agricultural producers who are making some of the best products in the marketplace.  CCEDC’s Business, Foods and Farms event was a great way to connect the dots between these producers and the buyer community, helping our farmers and food and beverage companies to gain exposure and expand their business.”

Twenty-six businesses and farms all displayed their products, ranging from jellies and jams, maple syrup products, baked goods, wool products to specialty meats.  In addition, there was an opportunity for tastings of local wines, spirits and craft beverages.  The Farmer’s Wife Catering of Ancramdale served hors d’oeuvres created from locally sourced farm products during the event.  Their food is as connected to the local harvest as it is to the evolving culinary culture of the region.

Jennifer Soukup of Soukup Farms, Dover Plains said, “We saw other businesses and restaurants we did not know about and we are looking to get into restaurants in addition to our retail business.  We look forward to future events.”

The Taste NY program works with local farmers to bring fresh, locally grown foods and agricultural products to stores, restaurants, schools and other venues.  Pattie Cammillone of Wholey Oats, Wingdale stated, “As a small business, I appreciate events like this since I learn something new every time and I was able to make a few new connections.”

Dutch’s Spirits at Harvest Homestead Farm is a 400 acre property in Pine Plains, NY, hugging the Dutchess and Columbia County border.  Decades after a historic raid by Federal Prohibition Agents shut down a massive illegal liquor operation at the site, Dutch’s Spirits at Harvest Homestead Farm now offers an authentic behind-the-scenes tour of the former bootlegging operation.  Dutch’s Spirits is also host to a farmers’ market during the growing season.

The next Taste NY at Todd Hill educational program is Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs), training scheduled for March 30-31 at the Farm & Home Center in Millbrook.

About Taste NY

Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at a variety of stores and venues throughout the State and at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park.

Over the last three years, the Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth and recognition. The program reported sales of $4.5 million in 2015 and nearly tripled those figures to more than $13.1 million in 2016. Today, New York products sold under Taste NY branding are available in more than 60 locations throughout the State as well as the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For more information about Taste NY, please visit www.taste.ny.gov. Connect with Taste NY through FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

—NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

For more articles out of New York, click here.

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