ALBANY — Governor Kathy Hochul today kicked off the State’s 10-year anniversary celebrations for Taste NY, New York’s official ‘eat local, drink local’ program, at a special open house at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva. The event showcased the diversity and uniqueness of New York State’s farmers and food and beverage producers, as well as regional tourism destinations. Today’s celebration marked the first in a series of events that are planned across the state in recognition of the 2023 10-year milestone and the program’s success, which has brought over $100 million in economic impact to New York State producers.
“Over the last decade, Taste NY has become a recognizable brand known for quality, creativity, and passion,” Governor Hochul said. “Taste NY is a cornerstone of our mission to promote New York’s farmers and producers, showcasing the best food, beverage, and gift products from businesses in every corner of our great state. I’m proud to announce the year-long celebration of Taste NY’s tenth anniversary today and look forward to continuing to support our agri-businesses and the breadth of our local New York products.”
Taste NY has grown significantly since its launch and products can now be found at nearly 70 locations across New York State, including the 11 regional Welcome Centers, airports, State parks, the Javits Center, and more. Over the last decade Taste NY has also partnered with major sports venues, such as MVP Arena and the Blue Cross Arena, and formed partnerships with high profile event organizers to bring Taste NY products to major sporting events such as the PGA Tour, the 2023 FISU World University Games, and the Saratoga Race Course.
Today’s kick-off celebration event at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center brought together regional agricultural, tourism, and supporting partners to introduce visitors to the New York farmers and producers whose products are available at the Welcome Center. Vendors sampling at the event included Smokin’ Tails Distillery, Red Jacket Orchards, Muranda Cheese, 4J’s NVR Specialty Sauces, 3 Brothers Wineries, Fulkerson Winery, Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery, Syrup a’La Rue, Brewery Ardennes, Geneva Reads, Karma Sauce, the Gourmet Butter Shop, Mama’s Got You Catering, Green Heart of the Finger Lakes®, and New York Kitchen. Additionally, the Welcome Center offered 10 percent off all purchases, $0.99 ice cream, and the chance to win a special giveaway basket in celebration of the 10-year milestone.
First opened in 2018, the Taste NY Market at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center works closely with area craft beverage, agriculture, and culinary vendors to promote food and beverage producers from the Finger Lakes area and from across the state. Since its opening, the Welcome Center has brought in over 1,900 New York products into the Market from over 280 vendors. In 2022, the Welcome Center’s sales totaled close to $430,000, a 1.7 percent growth over the previous year, and over 235,600 visitors stopped by to experience the best of New York State.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “For 10 years, Taste NY has been promoting all the best products New York has to offer – from cheese and ice cream to jams and jellies, maple syrup, craft beverages, candies, and even gift items like candles and soap. The program has had such a huge impact on our producers, helping to spotlight their hard work and introduce new consumers to their offerings. I’m excited to be celebrating a decade of Taste NY this year and look forward to an exciting year ahead.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Congratulations to all as we celebrate a decade of the Taste NY program. This flavorful initiative has served to showcase all of the state’s top-quality agricultural products and has proven to be incredibly successful, growing the tourism industry and supporting the overall economy of New York State.”
Geneva City Manager Amie Hendrix said, “The City of Geneva is honored to host the kick-off for this year-long celebration. We appreciate the ability to showcase the work of our local farmers and producers to visitors from around the world through the Taste NY collaboration. Congratulations to all as we celebrate the tenth birthday of a partnership that allows us to truly show why New Yorkers are so proud to eat and drink locally.”
Jennifer Kime, Market Manager, Finger Lakes Welcome Center said, “The Finger Lakes Welcome Center team is honored to have been selected as the starting location for the yearlong Taste 10th celebrations. Being part of the Taste NY program is a rewarding experience as we showcase the bounty of New York State, focusing on the Finger Lakes region. Since opening, 65% of the products we showcase have been sourced from vendors in our region. If you have not visited the Center, we encourage you do to so as we offer a coffee loyalty program, craft beverage tastings and – in the summer months – outdoor lakeside seating to enjoy a local sandwich and refreshing beverage.”
Valerie Knoblauch, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection President and CEO said, “The tie-in between our tourism industry and good ‘tastes of New York’ is exemplified by the what happens at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva. As a premier location for Taste NY, the Finger Lakes Welcome Center introduces visitors to the multitude and the diversity of New York made products. The next step for many visitors is to want to learn where these items are made and who made them. As a welcome center, the team cheerfully shares information about the makers and the places to go visit to taste more. Visitors extend stays, return visit, and look for our products at home. Taste NY is a win-win-win for our local economy.”
Natalie Baris, Farm Store Manager, Red Jacket Orchards said, “Red Jacket Orchards has been proud supporters and partners of Taste NY since the beginning. Showcasing small-batch, unique products throughout New York State, Taste NY has helped grow so many in the industry. We raise our glass (of juice) to celebrate 10 years, and to the next 10.”
Jeffrey H. Wells, Owner, Green Heart of the Finger Lakes® said, “We are honored to have been part of Taste NY’s 10-year celebration event. This is especially meaningful for us since we have had the wonderful opportunity to be a long-time vendor at the Geneva Finger Lakes Welcome Center, for six of those 10 years. Taste NY and the Green Heart of the Finger Lakes® are, for us, symbolic of everything good that our state and region has to offer.”
Vanessa Petrossian, Program Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County said, “The 10-year anniversary of Taste NY marks a decade of dedication to New York’s agricultural sector. We are grateful for the positive impact it has had on the farmers and producers in our communities across the state. The program is a testament to the power of collaboration and partnership, and we are committed to continuing to serve our farmers and local small businesses in the years to come. Having been a part of achieving this milestone through our operation of the Hudson Valley | Catskills Welcome Center and ShopTasteNY.com, we are proud of all that has been accomplished and are looking forward to creating even more opportunities for all those we serve.”
Tom Murray, Partner, Muranda Cheese said, “Muranda Cheese has been a proud partner of Taste NY since its inception. The partnership has allowed our business to grow. The Taste NY program enables visitors to be connected with unique opportunities here in central New York and elsewhere. Please raise a glass to the next 10 years and beyond.”
A series of events is planned across the state to celebrate Taste NY’s 10th anniversary this year, including at Welcome Centers run by the Department’s partners at the New York State Thruway Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation. The milestone will also be marked through a special web page highlighting milestone events in the 10 years of the program, social media campaigns, and more. Additionally, ShopTasteNY.com will be honoring the statewide #TasteTurns10 celebration by offering free statewide shipping all year and highlighting each region’s products with special markdowns during the month of their 10th anniversary event. The next event will take place in the Southern Tier in March and information about additional events will be posted on Taste.NY.gov when it becomes available.
About the Taste NY Market at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center
The Taste NY Market at the Finger Lake Welcome Center offers hot and cold lunch options all made from fresh ingredients and products grown and produced by local farmers. The Market also offers New York State-made wine, beer, and cider, grab-and-go snacks, and gifts. Additionally, the Welcome Center highlight’s the region’s tourism industry, with multiple interactive I Love New York kiosks positioned throughout, allowing visitors to test their knowledge of the region or design a trip itinerary.
About Taste NY
Taste NY highlights the quality, diversity, and economic impact of food and beverages grown, produced, or processed in New York State. Taste NY aims to create new opportunities for producers through events, retail locations, and partnerships, such as at the Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park. Over the last 10 years, Taste NY has supported nearly 2,000 food and beverage producers participating in the program through retail outlets, events, and sponsorships. In 2022, 311 new producers were onboarded to the program through New York’s Welcome Centers. Taste NY’s food and beverage businesses also support the state’s farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products.
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets