Friday, May 22, 2015

New York State Fair Selects Vegan-Vegetarian Vendor

The first vegan-vegetarian menu is coming to the New York State Fair this year.

Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said Syracuse’s Strong Hearts CafĂ© was chosen from four proposals to provide food that would appeal to vegans and vegetarians. 

The restaurant’s stand will be in the International Building, which is next to the State Police exhibit at the fair.

“We are thrilled to have an operator of the quality and commitment of the Strong Hearts team as part of the family of vendors at the State Fair,” Waffner said. “I know this will be a home run for fairgoers, who come to the fair to find great new foods to taste.”

In addition to serving 100 percent vegan fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Strong Hearts offers more than 40 milkshakes at its popular restaurant on East Genesee Street in Syracuse and its satellite location on the Syracuse University hill.

The restaurant will offer some of its milkshake lineup at the fair and will create a new milkshake especially for the fair.
Strong Hearts’ menu also will include smoothies, salads, sandwiches, wraps and side dishes. And, in keeping with state fair tradition, will offer a deep-fried delicacy — vegan chicken wings.

“People are ready for these fun and healthy alternatives,” said Strong Hearts co-owner Joel Capolongo. “We know what people like and want, and we’re ready to prove it to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Great New York State Fair.  I know fairgoers are going to love this food.”

The effort to find a vegan/vegetarian food vendor is part of the fair’s ongoing effort to diversify its food choices. As openings occur in food vending spots, the fair seeks new vendors with diverse menus.

Surveys of fairgoers find year after year that the number one reason they go to the fair is for the food. There are about 200 food vendors at the New York State Fair.

The New York State Fair runs from Thursday, Aug. 27, to Monday, Sept. 7.

Onondaga County Will Choose New Dairy Princess May 29

The Onondaga County dairy princess for 2015 will be crowned at an event from 7 to 9 p.m. May 29 at the Tully Train Station.

The event, put on by the Onondaga County Dairy Promotion Committee, will include dinner with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 5 to 11 and under age 5 are free.

Please RSVP by May 26 by calling Jean Reed at 683-5409 or Trisha Rohe at 492-1510.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nineteen Farm Businesses Receive State Grants

From New York State Ag and Markets:

The New Farmers Grant Fund is providing more than $610,000 in grants to help support new and early-stage agricultural businesses across New York state. 

Nineteen businesses were awarded grants Wednesday, May 20. The grant fund, enacted in the 2014-15 budget, will be used to assist early-stage farmers and encourage them to consider farming as a career, adding to the continued growth of New York’s agricultural sector. 

This money will allow these farmers to employ the use of innovative agricultural techniques on commercial farm operations throughout the state.
The award recipients, by region, are:
Western New York
· H & H Meadows, Cattaraugus County: $43,219 · Providence Creek Farm, Erie County: $15,104
Southern Tier
· Painted Goat Farm, Otsego County: $29,121 · Mauer's Mountain Farms, Delaware County: $50,000
Finger Lakes
· Silver Thread Vineyard, Seneca County: $20,123
Central New York
· Main Street Farms, Cortland County: $33,000 · New Moon Farms, Madison County: $50,000 · Common Thread CSA, Madison County: $23,969
Mohawk Valley
· Arabeth Farm, Herkimer County: $50,000 · Falls Pride Dairy, Oneida County: $32,765

North Country
· Blue Pepper Farm, Essex County: $34,000 · Full and By Farm, Essex County: $18,576 · Fledging Crow Vegetables, Essex County: $37,248
Hudson Valley
· Alewife Farm, Dutchess County: $16,332 · Yellow Bell Farm, Dutchess County: $50,000 · Raven & Boar, Columbia County: $50,000 · Ironwood Farm, Columbia County: $17,748
Long Island
· Condzella Hops, Suffolk County: $17,009 · Browder's Birds, Suffolk County: $22,045

Empire State Development, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, is administering the fund and has received more than 100 applications for the program. 

Projects were scored competitively based on specific criteria, including demonstration of project readiness. Grant funds will be used for project costs associated with the expansion of production, construction of farm buildings, purchase of equipment and seed, or upgrades to increase efficiency and boost production. 

“I couldn’t be happier with the number of applications that were submitted for the New Farmers Grant Fund, indicating there is truly an excitement around agriculture in New York state," said Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. 

"The next generation of farmers are passionate and driven, and have the opportunity to use innovative solutions to expand their operations. With some assistance from New York state, these farmers will now be able to grow, benefiting the agriculture economy for years to come,” Ball said.

Governor Cuomo and the legislature committed an additional $1 million in the 2015-2016 New York State Budget to support a second round of the New Farmers Grant Fund program in an effort to continue to expand New York State’s agriculture industry.

“Having access to capital to either start or grow a farm is one of the greatest challenges facing new farmers today, and today's announcement will help the recipients clear that hurdle," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau. "Ultimately, these grants are an investment into New York agriculture. The farms support their local, rural economies upstate and on Long Island and will contribute to the state's rich agricultural history."

Report: School Cafeteria Vendor Collaborates with Humane Society of the US

Interesting story.

What do you all think?

Here is the original blog entry from the Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some Regulatory Burdens Being Lessened for Farmers in New York

New initiatives were announced Tuesday May 19 to streamline regulatory burdens placed on farmers in New York. 

The first-ever Strategic Interagency Task Force on Lessening Obstacles to Agriculture identified new opportunities for improving the regulations for pesticide registration and certification without compromising current environmental protections. 

Additional regulatory changes for the benefit of New York agriculture as a result of the Task Force will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
The Task Force is comprised of leadership from state government and representatives from the agriculture industry. It met five times during 2014 to develop recommendations to streamline the regulatory process so the state’s agricultural economy to grow. 

During these meetings, farmers identified concerns on a variety of current regulations and posed them to the task force, which responded with the following solutions:
Easier Pesticide Registration Process In response to feedback from farmers, the Department of Environmental Conservation improved its pesticide product registration processes by scheduling pre-application meetings with registrants, reducing potential delays. It has also improved notification of new pesticide registrations to applicators and distributors.
Faster Recertification Process for Pesticide Applicators Farmers using pesticides are required to be certified as private pesticide applicators and take either continuing education courses or a recertification exam every five years to remain current. The Department of Environmental Conservation now tracks applicator certification status in a new database, which improves the renewal notice process. Later phases will allow farmers to view and update their own information online.
Simplify Categories for Pesticide Applicators New York State has seven private pesticide certifications. To make it easier for farmers to diversify the commodities they grow, the Department of Environmental Conservation now allows an applicant to request to switch their category, in most cases, and will propose consolidating the categories to simplify certification requirements.
"Based on these recommendations, the Department of Environmental Conservation has identified actions that will reduce the regulatory burdens on farmers and help them use approved products without weakening environmental protections," said state DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens.

Industry members of the Task Force are as follows:
· Jeff Williams, Director of Public Policy, New York Farm Bureau
· Jim Bittner, President and General Manager, Singer Farms, Appleton, NY
· Ken Schmitt, retired vegetable farmer, Melville, NY
· Brian Reeves, co-owner, Reeves Farms, Baldwinsville, NY
· Dave Fisher, Owner, Mapleview Dairy, Madrid, NY
· Tim Stanton, Owner, Stantons Feura Farm and Markets, Feura Bush, NY
· Tonya Van Slyke, Executive Director, Northeast Dairy Producers Association
· Karin Bump, Professor, Equine Studies Business & Management Program, Cazenovia College
· Jeff Fetter, President of Scolaro, Fetter, Grizanti, McGough & King, P.C

State agencies taking part in the Task Force are as follows:
· New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
· New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
· New York State Department of Labor
· New York State Department of Transportation
· New York State Public Service Commission
· New York State Department of Health
· New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
· Empire State Development
· New York State Department of Tax and Finance
· State Liquor Authority

Lively Run Goat Dairy Receives State Award

Lively Run Goat Dairy, in  Interlaken, which sells many of its artisanal cheese at Wegmans, recently received the 2015 New York State Agricultural Business of the Year award. 

The dairy was recognized by the state Small Business Development Center for expanding its cheese plant, adding products to its line and promoting its business with a tasting room and retail store. Marketing Director Katie Shaw said the business's net income increased about 450 percent with all the improvements.

Lively Run Goat Dairy consists of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans goats. Their milk is used make 12 different goats' milk cheeses. 

Lively Run also makes three varieties of cows' milk cheese and is working on a new cows' milk Swiss.
of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans.
of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans.
of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans.
of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans.
ur herd consists of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans. - See more at:
ur herd consists of French Alpines and Swiss Sanaans. - See more at:

Avian Flu Ditches All Fowl Competitions at Fairs in NYS

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has issued an order banning all live fowl competitions at the New York State Fair and at all county fairs in New York.

The order is the direct result of the continuing spread of strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the Midwest. 

“Avian influenza has not yet been detected in New York state, but it is a very serious threat to poultry and all breeds of fowl and is continuing to spread," said Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. 

"Despite the efforts of the best poultry health experts in North America, we do not fully understand the cause of the rapid spread of this virus. This commonsense step will help limit the spread of the influenza to other farms and chickens,” Ball said.

The ban covers all breeds of fowl, including chickens, pigeons, turkeys, pheasants, guinea fowl, bantam poultry, geese and ducks. Exhibitors who have already registered fowl for the 2015 New York State Fair will be contacted and will receive a refund of their entry fees.

“This is a disappointment to us as well as to fairgoers and our exhibitors, who look forward to this competition every year. But we believe people understand that we are stewards of the animals in our care and I know they understand that we’re doing what’s best for everyone, and especially for the birds,” said Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner.

The State Fair has already made plans to fill the space in the Poultry Barn normally used for displaying chickens with rabbits and cavies, and the daily rooster crowing contest will be replaced by a rabbit hopping demonstration on seven days. There will be a special demonstration on Tuesday, Sept. 1 of combing and cutting fur from angora rabbits and spinning the fur into yarn to make hats and mittens.

The Rooster Crowing Competition is one of the highlights of each day at the fair. The winners from each day of competition would square off at the end of the fair's run.

While the current strains of avian influenza circulating in the Midwest are extraordinarily deadly to birds, experts stress that the H5N2 and H5N8 strains are not a threat to humans. Officials also stress that chicken and eggs are safe to eat. 

The ban extends to all chartered county fairs and youth fairs in New York state. There are 45 county fairs and 6 chartered youth shows for the fair season that runs from June through October. 

“We believe the public will be very receptive to this. They know that we want to do the right thing.  We want to do what we can to prevent the spread of this disease to our local farms,” said Doug Hanno, President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs and an official of the Lewis County Fair.     

Last year, sows with piglets were banned from the State Fair due to a relatively new virus known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has a high mortality rate among piglets.

Several states have banned poultry competitions and exhibitions at fairs, including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Minnesota. Ohio has banned poultry entries from states affected by the virus outbreak and may consider a complete ban on competitions and displays.