Friday, October 30, 2015

Young Farmer Testifies Before Congress

Something to check out.

Go to to read the story.

New York Potatoes Are A Must for Thanksgiving Dinner

An Adirondack blue potato
A can’t-do-without item on the Thanksgiving table is the potato.

No matter how you eat them — mashed, boiled, fried, scallopped or in a casserole — potatoes are a hearty starch filled with nutrients.

And yes, you can get potatoes grown in New York state.

There are 150 New York potato growers who grow and harvest 18,000 acres of the vegetable, mostly Upstate and on Long Island.

One is Jeff Hopkinson, who grows 70 acres of potatoes and seed potatoes in Williamstown, Oswego County. He finished harvesting his crop in early October and said the yield is good and the quality is “awesome.”

“We had a dry July and August, so I had to irrigate a lot,” he said. “But the size is good, the quality is fantastic, and there are no rotten ones. They are all nice.”

You can’t see much when you drive by a potato farm because all the growing takes place under the soil. Potatoes come in all sizes and different colors, such as red, white or blue. Some are better for varied types of cooking, whether it’s baking, boiling or frying.

And some potatoes aren’t eaten at all.

Hopkinson, a fourth-generation potato farmer, said he sells only about 20 percent of his 70 acres of potatoes for table stock. People come to the farm to buy them, and they are sold in some small stores. 

But the other potatoes are sold to potato farmers for seed stock, and Hopkinson said most of his go to Florida.

Many potato farmers in New York got involved in the seed business years ago, when it became another way to earn money. Hopkinson said that although the price of table potatoes can fluctuate wildly, seed prices are fairly stable.

Hopkinson is a certified seed provider — one of eight in New York state — meaning his farm undergoes about five inspections of his crop each year to ensure the potatoes used for seed are healthy and not spreading any diseases, such as the harmful potato leaf roll and potato mosaic viruses.

Certified seed is recognized in national and state legislation as meeting high standards for genetic purity and quality.

Hopkinson explained that seed potatoes don’t look any different from the vegetable that could grace a person’s plate. The difference is the inspections and care to be sure they are disease-free and that they always are kept in a cool, darkened storage area for sale later when they have begun to sprout eyes — those hard, beige tubes that grow out of the sides of potatoes. These eyes are the seeds and eventually grow into brand-new potatoes.

Here are the eight certified seed potato program participants in New York state:

** Ayers & Gillette, Pike, Wyoming County, 585-493-2394,
** Kurt Brehm, Wayland, Steuben County, 585- 315-8746
** Childstock Farms, Inc., Malone, Franklin County, 518-483-1239,
** Hopkinson Farms, Williamstown, Oswego County, 315-964-2221
** Andrew Pryputniewicz, Waterville, Oneida County, 315-841-8426,
** Bruce H. Pryputniewicz, Sauquoit, Oneida County, 315-839-5301,
** Tucker Farms, Inc., Gabriels, Franklin County, 518-637-1230, , ,
** Cornell Uihlein Potato Farm, Lake Placid, Essex County, 518-523-3258, ,,

Potato Facts
** New York ranks 14th in the country in potato production. Idaho is first and Washington second.
** Potatoes are filled with fiber, Vitamin C and potassium, and they have no fat or cholesterol and only 100 calories per serving. The vegetable is 90 percent water.
** New York potato producers grow the vegetable for Cape Cod, Wise, Utz, Herr’s, Terrell’s and other regional potato chip companies.
** It is said that the potato chip was born in New York. In 1853, railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt complained that his potatoes were cut too thick and sent them back to the kitchen at a fashionable resort in Saratoga Springs. 

To spite him, chef George Crum sliced some potatoes paper-thin, fried them in hot oil, salted and served them. Vanderbilt loved his “Saratoga Crunch Chips,” and potato chips have been popular ever since.
Source: Empire State Potato Growers

For more great stories like this one, subscribe to the monthly Empire Farm & Dairy magazine by writing to the Watertown Daily Times, 260 Washington St., Watertown, NY   13601

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two New York State Farms Grow, Harvest Cranberries

As Thanksgiving approaches, New Yorkers (along with other Americans) begin thinking about the holiday feast.

One of the items that is paramount to the Thanksgiving table is the cranberry, that luscious burgundy fruit that is native to the swamps and bogs of the Northeast. According to, it is probable the Pilgrims did have cranberries at their first Thanksgivig feast, but not in the sauce form most enjoy today.

Native Americans ate cranberries and used them as a natural dye, the website states. “The Pilgrims might have been familiar with cranberries by the first Thanksgiving, but they wouldn’t have made sauces and relishes with the tart orbs. That’s because the sacks of sugar that traveled across the Atlantic on the Mayflower were nearly or fully depleted by November 1621. Cooks didn’t begin boiling cranberries with sugar and using the mixture as an accompaniment for meats until about 50 years later.”

Nonetheless, a lot of people today wouldn’t think of putting on a Thanksgiving spread without the cranberry. In New York state, there are two cranberry farms — one in Williamstown in Oswego County and one in Brasher Falls in St. Lawrence County.

While they both churn out those tangy berries during each October harvest, the farm owners grow them differently.

Peter Paquin, owner of Deer River Cranberries in Brasher Falls, grows about 80 acres of cranberries and does wet harvesting, which means the area where the berries grow is flooded and the berries are harvested.

Most of the cranberries grown in the Northeast are grown and harvested from bogs, which are areas of low, soft, marshy ground usually located near wetlands. According to the website for Ocean Spray (responsible for 75 percent of the cranberries sold worldwide, says bogs are where “cranberries love to grow.”

Paquin began his New York operation (he already runs some cranberry bogs in Massachusetts) in 2004 after buying a former hay and crop farm in 1999.  It took him a few years to get the ground ready, leveling the soil, digging a reservoir, putting sand in the area and then planting the cranberry plants.

He said the yields are good and the quality is excellent. He sells his berries to companies that freeze them and sell in stores and to some who make nutritional supplements from cranberries.

He also sells berries to customers who come to the farm during harvest season from Oct. 1 through Oct. 15.

In Williamstown, in eastern Oswego County, 180 acres of cranberries are grown in sandy, acidic fields (just right for cranberries) and are dry harvested with machines plucking the berries off the vines. You won’t find any water or bogs here.

“This is non-conventional upland harvesting,” said farm owner Marc Bieler.

The Oswego County farm — which was the first cranberry farm in New York state — is owned by Atoka Cranberry of Manseau, Quebec, the largest cranberry growing and processing company in Canada. Manseau is about 93 miles east of Montreal near Quebec City.

Atoka’s President Bieler bought the farm’s harvest in 2002 when the Oswego Cranberry Co. — which then owned the farm — was going out of business.

Then Bieler and Atoka bought the entire farm. Since then, Atoka has been dry harvesting the berries each October.

Wet harvested cranberries are used for processed items, such as juice or sauce. Dry harvested berries can be used for fresh sale or items such as dried cranberries. Only 2 percent of commercial cranberries are harvested using the dry method. The majority are harvested by flooding the fields and scooping up the floating berries.

Berries harvested in Oswego County go to the processing plant in Quebec where they are cleaned and frozen for use in juice concentrate and as sweet and dried cranberries.

Bieler said Atoka makes juice and concentrate for many different labels. Depending on the bid from various grocery stores, he said, people in Central and Northern New York could at one time or another be drinking cranberry juice made from Williamstown berries.

Cranberry Nutrition
**Cranberries are one of the most nutritious foods a person can eat.
**One cup of whole cranberries has just 46 calories, no fat, cholesterol or sodium, 18 percent of the daily requirement of fiber, 22 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, 5 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin B-6 and 1 percent of the daily requirements of vitamin A and magnesium.
**That cup also has just 4 grams of sugar.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Animals Used for Meat Don't Have Antibiotics in Them

Read this story from Food Insight to see that it is all marketing hype when a company comes out stating "we are no longer going to use animals treated with antibiotics" at our restaurants or stores.

Go to to check out the story.

Farm Owners to Receive Safety-Net Payments

From the USDA:

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that beginning Monday, Oct. 26, nearly one half of the 1.7 million farms that signed up for either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs will receive safety-net payments for the 2014 crop year.

"Unlike the old direct payments program, which paid farmers in good years and bad, the 2014 Farm Bill authorized a new safety-net that protects producers only when market forces or adverse weather cause unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. 

“For example, the corn price for 2014 is 30 percent below the historical benchmark price used by the ARC-County program, and revenues of the farms participating in the ARC-County program are down by about $20 billion from the benchmark during the same period," Vilsack said. "The nearly $4 billion provided today by the ARC and PLC safety-net programs will give assistance to producers where revenues dropped below normal."

The ARC/PLC programs primarily allow producers to continue to produce for the market by making payments on a percentage of historical base production, limiting the impact on production decisions.

Nationwide, 96 percent of soybean farms, 91 percent of corn farms and 66 percent of wheat farms elected the ARC-County coverage option. Ninety-nine percent of long grain rice and peanut farms, and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected the PLC option. 

Crops receiving assistance include barley, corn, grain sorghum, lentils, oats, peanuts, dry peas, soybeans and wheat. In the upcoming months, disbursements will be made for other crops after marketing year average prices are published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Get Fresh Turkeys Right in New York State

Turkeys enjoy the sunshine at Violet Hill Farm in Herkimer County.
By Debra J. Groom
Empire Farm & Dairy 

New York doesn’t rank in the top 10 in turkey-producing states, but several farms here still raise and process fresh gobblers. 

Although most are small operations, they have devoted followers, take reservations for birds early in the year, and sell out quickly.

One such turkey producer is Mary Carpenter, who runs Violet Hill Farm in West Winfield in southern Herkimer County.

Carpenter said she didn’t plan on being a farmer. She was a makeup artist working in New York City, but one day, she went to the farmers market with a friend and met a farmer named Paul Densch-Layton, who was selling meat from his farm.

“He and I became friends,” Carpenter said. “He was ready to bow out of the farm, and he asked me if I wanted to help him out during lambing season.”

As she says on the Violet Hill Farm website, “the rest is history.”

Mary and Paul still are a couple, are raising five children, and they’re running a farm complete with turkeys, chickens, lambs, pigs, rabbits, geese, eggs, wild mushrooms, medicinal herbs and fruits. 

Mary also sells skin-care products, soaps, lip balms, deodorants and herbal tinctures.

This year, she has 300 turkeys ready to go for Thanksgiving; they range in weight from 10 to 25 pounds. (To order a turkey, go to

Carpenter and other turkey producers in New York said this year has been challenging due to the Avian (bird) flu problem in the Midwest.

While the bird flu hasn’t shown up in New York, the poultry industry has taken stringent precautions to ensure the strain stays away from the Empire State. Among the precautions: prohibiting poultry shows at any county fair or at the New York State Fair this year. 

“Some producers had a difficult time getting poults this year,” Carpenter said.

A poult is a turkey only 1 or 2 days old that producers buy and then raise for the Thanksgiving or Christmas season.

Some farmers, such as Ortensi Farms in Richfield Springs, Otsego County, usually sell turkeys but have none this year. Burl Creek Farm in Clyde, Wayne County, has only 42 birds this year, compared with 70 last year, saidf farm owner Rachel Burley.

And consumers should be beware of prices this year. The bird flu and some producers not being able to get enough poults to raise have led to some prices that might be higher this year than last.
Number of turkeys produced and value for 2013:
Minnesota, 44 million, $747,056,000
North Carolina, 34 million, $757,435,000
Arkansas, 28 million, $372,400,000
Indiana, 17.5 million, $441,061,000
Missouri, 17 million, $361,760,000
Virginia, 15.5 million, $267,995,000
California, 13 million, $242,925,000
South Carolina, 12 million, $318,402,000
Pennsylvania, 7 million, $113,582,000
Ohio, 5.5 million, value $155,031.000
Total for 2013 – 240 million, birds produced, value of $4,839,562,000  

For more stories like this one, subscribe to Empire Farm & Dairy magazine.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cornell Grape Research Gets Federal Money

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $6 million to Cornell University for grape research. 

Go to this link to read more about the grant.

Farmers Can Apply for Money to Fund Projects on the Farm

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

A total of $1 million is available to assist new farmers in New York state begin their careers.

Now in its second year, the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund will build upon a successful 2015 when more than $610,000 was awarded to 19 farms across the state in order to support the continued growth of New York’s agricultural industry.

The $1 million New Farmers Grant Fund will provide grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs. Funds may provide a minimum of $15,000 and maximum of $50,000 for up to 50 percent of project costs with the remaining 50 percent being matched by the recipient.
Eligible project costs include the purchase of farm machinery, supplies and equipment, and construction or improvement of farm buildings. 

Empire State Development, in consultation with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, will administer the fund, which is open to New York farmers in the first 10 years of having a farm operation of 150 acres or less.

The application and guidelines for the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund are available online and the deadline for submission is Jan.22.

Go to  for both the application and guidelines.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

As Schools Buy More Local Food, Kids Throw Less Food in the Trash

Interesting story from NPR.

Check it out at this link.

A Look at Milk from Farm to Glass

Check this out -- a paid post from the New York Times website talks about the journey of milk from farm to glass.

And it features a farm from Onondaga County just outside Syracuse.

Go to to see it.

Some Small Scale Farmers Have Difficult Time Making Ends Meet

Here is an interesting story written by a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University.

Check it out at

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ritchie Hosts Meeting About Food Hub

This is from the office of state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie:

State Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie Monday hosted a meeting of agriculture experts to discuss the establishment of a “food hub” in the region.

The food hub would help better connect farmers with consumers throughout the state who are increasingly looking to eat healthy, locally grown and produced foods.

Made possible through $1 million in the state budget, the planned Upstate New York food hub will give farmers and agribusiness owners an opportunity to bring products to a central location where they then can be transported to major cities throughout the state, including New York City. 

“Whether it’s in a ‘farm to table’ restaurant or at a special section of the grocery store, across our region and state are so many signs that consumers are looking to increase their consumption of foods that are grown or produced locally,” Ritchie said. 

“This meeting is one of the first steps to getting a food hub — which will help our region’s farmers and agribusiness owners more easily get their goods to different parts of our state — off the ground," Ritchie said.

"By giving other parts of New York a taste of Upstate, we’ll not only be helping a greater number of people consume healthy foods, we will also provide an economic boost to our local farmers,” she said.

Monday’s meeting continues Ritchie’s effort to strengthen the connection between farmers and consumers, as well as bolster New York’s agriculture industry.  Last month, Ritchie brought together farmers and agribusiness owners from Oswego and Jefferson counties for a similar meeting in Watertown. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dairy Farm Won't Build Controversial Manure Pit

Check out the story by clicking here.

Beers Brewed in New York Need Local Ingredients

Go to to check out the story.

Guaranteed Farm Loan Information Available

Go to to see information on the 2016 Guaranteed Farm Loans from Farm Service Agency.

The Future of Agriculture

Here's a story about the future of agriculture.

Go to to check it out.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Webinar on Farm Animal Welfare Law Set for Nov. 12

A Continuing Legal Education webinar on New York farm animal welfare law is being presented at 3:30 p.m., Thursday Nov. 12.

Lawyer Cari Rincker will present the program through

Topics to be covered are:
• Overview of animal cruelty law in New York, including applicable statues and related case law;
• Seizure of animals under these statues;
• Criminal procedure for police officers and Society for the Prevention for the Cruelty of Animals (“SPCA”) peace officers, including warrant requirements, search and seizure, warrantless arrests, photographic evidence;
• Posting of security for costs of care for seized animals;
• Local animal abuser registries and databases; and
• Tips for protecting farms and building a defense.
Anyone interested in participating in this webinar should go to to register.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cider, Hard Cider and Apple Spirits Abound in the Fall

Cider is a refreshing bit of fall — tangy and sweet apples in a drink.

New York is filled with places to buy cider, whether it’s a grocery store, farm market, farmstand or straight from the orchard.

James Allen, president and chief executive officer of the New York Apple Association, said apple cider is big business in the state, as people pick up gallons or half-gallons when they visit the scores of orchards across New York.

It’s also a fun fall family activity to pick fresh apples and buy cider.

But New York orchards are much more than cider.

For adults, many apple growers are expanding into hard cider and apple spirits — a variety of alcoholic beverages made from apples.

“Distilled apple beverages and apple wine have really taken off,” Allen said.

David DeFisher, a fourth-generation fruit farmer in Williamson, Wayne County, began Apple Country Spirits at his farm in 2012. He makes vodka and other spirits from apples and other fruits grown at his farm.

“We sold (our fruits) to processors for years,” DeFisher said. “Then in 2010-2011, I started thinking about what sort of value-added product could we begin producing that would bring in a better return.”

He and his wife took a course about distilling at Cornell University and then bought a still and built a 7,000-square-foot facility at the farm. Today they make a variety of distilled spirits — vodka, a cherry cordial, and bourbon- and whiskey-like products — from apples and other fruits.

DeFisher is quick to point out that he does not make apple vodka, which he said is regular, grain-distilled vodka flavored with apple.

“Our product, our vodka, is made from apples,” he said.

Anyone interested in testing these spirits can visit his farm’s tasting room from noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And throughout October, there is a cocktail party at the farm each Friday and Saturday night. (Visit for more information.)

DeFisher said his farm also recently has moved into the hard-cider business. He welcomes consumers to visit the farm, ask questions about the distilling process, and try some of the beverages.

“Sales are beginning to pick up,” he said.

For more information on New York cider, visit, a webiste run by the New York Apple Association.

Here is a list of several farms and orchards that sell their cider or spirits during the season:

Hemlock Grove Farm, 180 Walding Lane, West Danby, Tompkins County, (607) 564-3346
Littletree Orchards, 345 Shaffer Road, Newfield, Tompkins County, (607) 592-8177
South Hill Cider, 560 W. King Road, Ithaca, Tompkins County, (607) 279-7563; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Redbyrd Orchard Cider, 4115 Newtown Road, Burdett, Schuyler County, (607) 546-4340; also has hard cider and apple spirits

Second Chance Orchard, 7319 Kirkville Road, East Syracuse, Onondaga County, (315) 656-0005
C&M Farms, 7645 Myers Road, Kirkville, Onondaga County, (315) 656-7173
Abbott Farms Inc., 3275 Cold Springs Road, Lysander, Onondaga County, (315) 638-7783
Rocking Horse Farm, 3736 Apulia Road, Jamesville, Onondaga County, (315) 492-1100
Beak & Skiff Apple Hill Campus, 2708 Lords Hill Road, LaFayette, Onondaga County, (315) 696-6085
1911 Spirits by Beak & Skiff, 2708 Lords Hill Road, LaFayette, Onondaga County; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Navarino Orchard, 3655 Cherry Valley Turnpike, Syracuse, Onondaga County, (315) 673-9181
Critz Farms, 3232 Rippleton Road, Cazenovia, Madison County, (315) 662-3355
Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz Farms, 3232 Rippleton Road, Cazenovia, Madison County, (315) 662-3355
Owen Orchards Inc., 8174 Grant Ave. Road, Weedsport, Cayuga County, (315) 252-4097
Elderbery Pond, 3728 Center Street Road, Auburn, Cayuga County, (315) 252-3977
Twin Orchards Farm Inc., 4695 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford, Oneida County, (315) 736-5883
Clinton Cider Mill, 17 Fair Meadow Lane, Clinton, Oneida County, (315) 853-5756
Parker’s Cider Mill, 437 Otsego St., Ilion, Herkimer County, (315) 894-4660
North Star Orchards LLC, 4741 State Route 233, Westmoreland, Oneida County, (315) 853-1024
Windy Hill Orchard & Farm Market, 577 East St., Cassville, Oneida County, (315) 822-0046
Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill, 1265 Route 392, Cortland, Cortland County, (607) 835-6455

Burrville Cider Mill, Inc., 18176 County Route 156, Watertown, Jefferson County, (315) 788-7292
Kaneb Orchards, 182 Highland Road, Massena, St. Lawrence County, (315) 769-2880; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Everett Orchards Farm Market & Cidery, 1945 Military Turnpike, Plattsburgh, Clinton County, (518) 643-6824; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Rulfs Orchard, 531 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, Clinton County, (518) 643-8636

Hardeman Orchards, 194 West Market St., Red Hook, Dutchess County, (845) 758-5154
Migliorelli Farms, 46 Freeborn Lane, Tivoli, Dutchess County, (845) 757-3276
Stone Ridge Orchard, 3012 Stone Ridge Road, Stone Ridge, Ulster County, (845) 687-2587
Mead Orchards LLC, 15 Scism Road, Tivoli, Dutchess County, (845) 756-5641
Stone Ridge Orchard, 828 Centre Road, Staatsburg, Dutchess County, (845) 687-2587; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Breezy Hill Orchards, 828 Centre Road, Staatsburg, Dutchess County, (845) 266-3979
Clermont Cider House, 21 Gronwoldt Lane, Germantown, Columbia County, (518) 537-4437
Wilklow Orchards, 341 Pancake Hollow Road, Highland, Ulster County, (845) 691-8325
Hudson Valley Fruit Juice, 33 White St., Highland, Ulster County
Jenkins & Lueken Orchard, 69 Yankee Folly Road, New Paltz, Ulster County, (845) 255-0999
Yankee Folly Cider, 69 Yankee Folly Road, New Paltz, Ulster County, (845) 255-1155; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Saunderskill Farm, 100 Route 209 Accord, Ulster County, (845) 626-7103
Dressel Farms, LLC, 271 Route 208, New Paltz, Ulster County, (845) 255-0693; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Kettleborough Cider House, 277 State Route 208, New Paltz, Ulster County, (845) 419-3774
Minard Farms Beverage Co., 59 Hurds Road, Clintondale, Ulster County, (845) 883-7102
W.H. Walker & Son, 1153 Route 44, Clintondale, Ulster County, (845) 883-7457
Bad Seed Cider Co. LLC, 43 Baileys Gap Road, Highland, Ulster County, (845) 389-3087; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Mark Eger & Bros. Inc., 33 Eger Road, Hudson, Columbia County, (518) 828-3510
Thompson-Finch Farm, 750 Wiltsie Bridge Road, Ancram, Columbia County, (518) 329-7578

Hicks Nurseries Inc., 100 Jericho Turnpike, Box 648, Westbury, Nassau County, (516) 334-0066
Martin Viette Nurseries Inc., 6050 Northern Blvd., East Norwich, Nassau County, (516) 922-5530
Jericho Cider Mill Inc., 213 Route 106, Jericho, Nassau County, (516) 433-3360

Nine Pin Cider Works LLC, 929 Broadway, Albany, Albany County, (518) 449-9999; also has hard cider and apple spirits
The Farm at Kristy’s Barn, 2385 Brookview Road, Schodack, Rensselaer County, (518) 477-6250
Cronk Farm Products, 553 Old Best Road, West Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, (518) 326-2238
Goold Orchards Inc., 1297 Brookview Station Road,  Castleton-on-Hudson, Rensselaer County, (518) 732-7317
Goold Orchards — Brookview Station Winery, 1297 Brookview Station Road, Castleton-on-Hudson, Rensselaer County, (518) 732-7317; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Indian Ladder Farms Inc., 342 Altamont-Voorheesville Road, Altamont, Albany County, (518) 765-2956; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Bowman Orchards LLC, 141 Sugar Hill Road, Rexford, Saratoga County, (518) 371-2042
Lindsey’s Idyllwood Orchard, 267 Sugarhill Road, Rexford, Saratoga County, (518) 371-5785
Altamont Orchards, Inc., 6654 Dunnsville Road, Altamont, Albany County, (518) 861-6515
Golden Harvest Farms, Inc., 3074 Route 9, Valatie, Columbia County, (518) 758-7683
Harvest Spirits Distillery, 3074 US Route 9, Valatie, Columbia County, (518) 758-7683; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Samascott Orchards, 5 Sunset Ave., Kinderhook, Columbia County, (518) 758-7224
Lakeside Cider Mill Farms, 336 Schauber Road, Ballston Lake, Saratoga County, (518) 399-8359
Knight Orchard of Saratoga Inc., 325 Goode St., Burnt Hills, Saratoga County, (518) 399-5174
Borden’s Orchard, 2841 Valley Falls Road, Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, (518) 692-2370
Sundog Cider, 343 State Route 395, Chatham, Columbia County, (518) 392-4000; also has hard cider and apple spirits

Chateau Buffalo Ciderhouse & Winery, 175 Niagara Frontier Food Terminal, 1500 Clinton St., Buffalo, Erie County, (716) 704-4671; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Mayer Bros. Apple Products, 3300 Transit Road, West Seneca, Erie County, (716) 668-1787
Saville Farms Inc., 4020 N Buffalo Road, Orchard Park, Erie County, (716) 662-4485
McKenzie’s Beverages, Inc., 4475 Transit Road, Orchard Park, Erie County, (716) 912-5020; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Smith’s Orchard Cider Mill, 4960 Mapleton Road, Pendleton, Niagara County, (716) 625-4316
Cherry Bank Farm, 5140 Townline Road, Sanborn, Niagara County, (716) 731-5749
Red Barrel Cider Mill Inc., 8978 Boston State Road, Boston, Erie County, (716) 941-5959
Hall Apple Farm, 6100 Ruhlmann Road, Lockport, Niagara County, (716) 434-0838
Blackman Homestead Farm, 4472 Thrall Road, Lockport, Niagara County, (716) 434-7116
Cummins Cider Mill, 159 Portville Ceres Road, Portville, Cattaraugus County, (716) 933-8890
Pumpkinville LLC, 4844 Sugartown Road, Great Valley, Cattaraugus County, (716) 699-2994

DeFisher Fruit Farms, 3274 Eddy Road, Williamson, Wayne County, (315) 589-8416; also has hard cider and spirits through its Apple Country Spirits at the same site
Finger Lakes Cider House, 4017 Hickok Road, Interlaken, Seneca County, (315) 351-3313
Blackduck Cidery, 3046 County Road 138, Ovid, Seneca County, (607) 532-4956; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Dadson’s Farm Market, 361 Route 318, Phelps, Ontario County, (315) 539-3643
Red Jacket Orchards, 957 Routes 5 & 20 West, Geneva, Ontario County, (315) 781-2749
Daring Drake Farm, 7726 Rock River Road, Interlaken, Seneca County, (607) 532-4956; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Bellwether Hard Cider, 9070 Route 89, Trumansburg, Tompkins County, (607) 387-9464; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Grisamore Farms, 4069 Goose St., Locke, Cayuga County, (315) 497-1347
Wager’s Cider Mill, 256 E. Main St., Penn Yan, Yates County, (315) 536-6640
Gansz Farms Cider Mill, 1697 Gansz Road, Lyons, Wayne County, (315) 946-4425
Kingtown Orchard, 9469 Kingtown Road, Trumansburg, Tompkins County, (607) 387-5958
Black Diamond Farm, 4675 Seneca Road, Trumansburg, Tompkins County, (607) 227-7960; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, State Route 414, Hector, Seneca County, (607) 546-9463; also has hard cider and apple spirits
West Haven Farm, 114 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, Tompkins County, (607) 279-9483
South Hill Cider, 560 W. King Road, Ithaca, Tompkins County, (607) 279-7563; also has hard cider and apple spirits

Middlefield Orchard, 2274 State Route 166 Cooperstown, Otsego County, (607) 547-8212
Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, Inc., 288 Goose St., Fly Creek, Otsego County, (607) 547-9692; also has hard cider and apple spirits
Dyn’s Cider Mill, 7915 State Route 28, Richfield Springs, Otsego County, (315) 858-2078
Sharon Orchards, 573 Chestnut St., Sharon Springs, Schoharie County, (518) 284-2510
Annutto’s Farm Stand, 5396 State Route 7, Oneonta, Otsego County, (607) 432-7905
Cornell Orchards, 709 Dryden Road, Ithaca, Tompkins County, (607) 255-4542

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Farming is Dangerous

A sad, but well-written piece.

Farming is dangerous, even when you take the greatest of precautions.

Go to to read the story.

Like Bugs? Saturday is Your Day at Cornell University

This year's Insectapalooza at Cornell University is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday Oct. 17 at  Comstock Hall.  

The public is invited to come see the Bizarre, Bad, and Beneficial of the insect world at the annual, one-day insect fair. The event is an interactive, hands-on experience that features hundreds of live insects, spiders and other fascinating arthropods. 
Popular favorites include the live Butterfly Room and Arthropod Zoo.

The cost is $3 per person. Children 3 years old and younger are free.

Insectapalooza is fun and educational for children, teens, and adults of all ages. The annual Insect Fair reflects the countless wonderful ways that insects interact with people and impact our lives -- for better or for worse.

The event is hosted by the Department of Entomology at Cornell University.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New York State Awards Money to Help Farmers with Conservation Efforts

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

A total of $11.1 million has been awarded to support 29 agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting 116 farms.

The funding, provided to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, will help farmers with projects that prevent water pollution, reduce erosion and limit harmful sediments and other nutrients in New York’s waterways.  

The program received a record number of applications — a total of 99 — this year, demonstrating the agricultural community’s growing commitment to environmental stewardship.

Through the program, the County Soil and Water Conservation Districts apply for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers.   Projects awarded receive funding to conduct environmental planning or to implement best management practices such as agricultural waste storage systems, riparian buffer systems, conservation cover crops and structural soil conservation practices.

Here is the money awarded by regions:

·       Western New York - $1,584,551 for four projects
·       Finger Lakes - $2,814,643 for ten projects
·       Southern Tier - $2,766,515 for six projects
·       North Country - $1,668,511 for three projects
·       Mohawk Valley - $1,416,535 for three projects
·       Capital Region - $404,590 for one project
·       Long Island - $448,309 for two projects

For a complete list of projects awarded, please visit:

New Initiatives Come Out of Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit

This information about the Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit is from Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more than $16 million in new investments to grow New York's craft beverage industry.  

Included is $5 million for promotion including direct spending ($2 million), tourism promotion ($1 million), and targeted advertising ($1 million)--plus a $3 million competitive matching grants program.  

In addition, $400,000 is specifically dedicated to getting tourists from New York City to the eastern Long Island wine region.

On the research side, nearly $7 million was committed to the New York State Food Venture Center at the Geneva Experiment Station, which will accelerate the growth of the craft beverage sectors.  This investment reflects the importance of Cornell University and Cooperative Extension in the industry's advancement, complemented by Finger Lakes Community College.

In addition, the incredibly valuable "One Stop Shop" ombudsman service of state government, first created at the 2012 Summit and staffed by Sam Filler and Molly Bauer, will be enhanced with a subset within the State Liquor Authority, since about 90 percent of all industry inquiries involve the Alcohol Beverage Control law or SLA rules, so direct calls make more sense.

There were also about a dozen new initiatives designed to cut bureaucracy in various ways: allowing salespeople to work for multiple craft beverage manufacturers; letting craft beverage manufacturers collaborate in operating a "branch office" (satellite store); permitting the sales of off-premise beer in growlers; letting wineries operate "home winemaker centers" where hobbyists can use the facilities and equipment to make their "homemade" wine; and simplifying the licensing for bona fide wine educators.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Apple Association Collects Less Money at State Fair This Year

Did you have trouble finding the New York Apple Association booth at the State Fair this year?

I did. And I guess wasn't alone.

Seems state fair officials moved the association's booth to the other side of the Horticulture Building. For years, the apples have been across from the New York Maple Producers exhibit.

But this year, the maple producers exhibit expanded and took up that space with its education center. But there was no sign letting people know the apple folks moved to a new site.

“The New York Apple Association booth is a popular one for fairgoers. This year we moved it to equivalent space within the Horticulture Building, next to the most popular exhibit in the building, the Baked Potato booth, in order to provide space for an expanded, interactive display from the New York State Maple Producers," said fair spokesman David Bullard.. 

"It’s not uncommon to move the location of vendors and booths to accommodate various factors, including new or expanded displays,”  Bullard said.

Apple Association President Jim Allen said one reason why he believes people had difficulty finding the apple booth is less money was brought in through the sale of apple products at the exhibit.

He said the money raised through the sale of apples and apple products at the exhibit usually is more than $10,000. This year, it was less than $9,000.

All the money goes to the American Cancer Society.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Neighbors Come to Aid of Ailing Farmer

Great story.

Check it out at this link.

USDA Offers Grants to Train Beginning Farmers, Ranchers

From the USDA:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday announced more than $17 million in grants for organizations that will develop training and provide other resources for beginning farmers and ranchers across the nation. 

The awards are made through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and was continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years. 

NIFA awards grants to organizations throughout the United States that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which may take place through workshops, educational teams, training, or technical assistance.

One organization, the Hawthorne Valley Association of Ghent, NY, is getting $693,918. American Farmland Trust, which does some work in New York state, is receiving $699,796.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Officials Mark Opening of St. Lawrence Wine Trail

(Pictured from left to right are RVRDA and IDA CEO Patrick Kelly, Senator Patty Ritchie, Larry Hollister of Bella Brooke Winery, St. Lawrence Valley Redevelopment Agency Chair Robert McNeil, Assemblywoman Addie Russell, Randy LaMay of River Myst Winery and St. Lawrence County Chamber Of Commerce Executive Director Brooke Rouse)

Local leaders got together Thursday to mark the official opening of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail, the state’s 18th wine trail.

State Sen. Patty Ritchie said the trail should help draw tourists to the area, create jobs and support local businesses.

Established through legislation sponsored by Ritchie, the trail spans 80 miles, starting near Black Lake’s Bella Brooke Winery in Morristown, extending to Lisbon’s River Myst Winery and then to High Peaks Winery in Winthrop. 

In addition, the trail was also designed to bring visitors to St. Lawrence Brewing’s microbrewery in Canton, allowing the four companies additional opportunities to work together and market the new tourist destination.

Recently, more than 90 highway signs marking the new wine trail were placed throughout its 80 mile span. In addition, now available through the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce are brochures and a website that include a map of the trail, winery descriptions and information on other local attractions.

According to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, in 1976 there were just 14 wineries in New York State.  Today, that number has ballooned to more than 1,600 family vineyards and over 350 wineries.

Marketing Materials Available for Pride of New York Program

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

The recently relaunched Pride of New York website features a new fulfillment house function for marketing and branding materials. 

At the request of Pride of New York participants, growers and producers across the state can now visit the Pride of New York fulfillment house, located under the About Us section on the Pride of New York homepage, to order banners, stickers and other branding materials to display alongside local New York state products.


The fulfillment house makes it easy for the more than 3,000 members of the Pride of New York program to order materials for their business. All proceeds from the sale of the marketing materials will be used to replenish any depleted stock.  

The streamlined Pride of New York website also allows consumers to quickly find Pride of New York products by using the updated advanced search tool, which provides item searches by category, county and item.

The Pride of New York program is designed to highlight and promote the benefits of locally produced and grown agricultural products and build consumer awareness. 

It is also an important partner of the Taste NY initiative, which is dedicated to promoting New York’s food and beverage industries and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at large public events such as the Great New York State Fair and special events with organizations such as the Culinary Institute of America and the New York Racing Association. 

The program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops, along the state’s highways, New York City airports, and transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products.

Also, since October 2013, more than 300 restaurants have taken the Pride of New York Pledge, committing to increase their use of New York products by at least 10 percent. 

To find out more about the Pride of New York program, call (800) 554-4501 or go to 

If you are already a Pride of New York member, please make sure your information and listing is up-to-date by emailing

Watertown Farmers' Market Benefits from Rainless Wednesdays

A story from one of my colleagues at the Watertown Daily Times.

Check it out here.

LaFayette Apple Festival set for Oct. 10 and 11

The LaFayette Apple Festival is this weekend.

The annual event is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday Oct. 10 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Oct. 11. There is also an apple pancake breakfast each day at 7 a.m.

Come to LaFayette -- the heart of Onondaga County's apple country (Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette recently was named the number one orchard in the US in a USA Today poll) -- to experience crafters, free entertainment, artists, nonprofit organizations, a scarecrow contest, king and queen contest and pie contest. 

There also are loads of goodies to eat -- in fact everything possible that can be made with apples will be at the festival (especially dumplings, doughnuts and fritters).

Parking is free. Admission is $5 and ages 12 and under are free. Presale tickets for $4 are available at Old Tyme Cafe in LaFayette or Baileys ice cream on Route 11 in Nedrow.

No pets are allowed (only service dogs).

It's Harvest Time -- Thank a Farmer

Be sure to think about this today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New York Could Benefit Greatly form the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday put out a fact sheet stating how New York will benefit from the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement.

The fact sheet states New York state has five basic agricultural exports: dairy, fruit and nuts, vegetables, soybeans and feeds and fodder. New York ag exports have a value of about $1.7 billion.

Dairy --Japan will eliminate tariff s on cheese and whey and create tariff -rate quotas (TRQs) for whey, butter, milk powder and evaporated and condensed milk. Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tari ffs on dairy products. Canada will eliminate tari ffs on whey and create TRQs for cheese, fluid milk, butter and other products.

Fruits -- Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam will eliminate tariff s on all fresh and processed fruits, including citrus.

Vegetables -- Malaysia and Vietnam will immediately eliminate all tariff s,and Japan nearly all tari ffs, on fresh and processed vegetables. All three countries will eliminate tariff s on potatoes and
potato products

The fact sheet states "The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will boost demand for U.S. farm and food products among nearly 500 million consumers in 11 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. By reducing tariff s and opening new markets for American agricultural products, the TPP will help increase farm income, generate rural economic activity and support local jobs."
A total of 12,900 jobs in New York state are supported by agricultural exports to other countries.
Also on Wednesday, Andrew Novakovic, a professor in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, said the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could result in the opening of Canada as a dairy market for the United States and New York -- a market that has been closed for years.
He issued the following statement on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership will help the New York dairy industry:
“The outlines of the dairy agreement contained in Trans-Pacific Partnership is distinguished not so much by what it did, but rather that it managed to do anything at all. The participants in the trade agreement include the two most protectionist dairy sectors in the world and, arguably, the two most liberal.

The U.S. occupies an intermediary position that was very protectionist 20 years ago, and has become more liberal and more self-assured in world trade.

The breakthrough for the dairy chapter was a Canadian agreement, under heavy U.S. lobbying, to expose their closed system to slightly greater imports, which they cleverly will do within their production quota system.

Under the Canadian system, not only has the trade door been closed, they have tightly managed milk production to essentially assure stable and profitable prices for dairy farmers.

The accumulated effect has been a Canadian dairy industry that in many respects resembles U.S. farming of 40 years ago and prices that are increasingly higher.

From 1991 through 2000, Canadian farm milk prices averaged 18 percent higher than the U.S. Since 2000, they have averaged 62 percent higher. Profitability in Canada is more stable than the U.S., but not dramatically higher.

The implication is that the supply-managed system has, over time, allowed increased costs to be rewarded with increased prices. Eliminating the protection of the Canadian cocoon is a frightful prospect for Canadian farmers and an alluring opportunity for world exporters, including New Zealand and the U.S.

Although Canada apparently has agreed to only permit an amount of dairy product imports equal to 3.25 percent of its total milk supply, this represents a brand new opportunity for the U.S. to develop marketing relationships with Canadian processing and marketing companies and the confidence of Canadian consumers.

This opportunity will be available to any dairy firm in the U.S., but it will be especially enticing to border states, like New York. As a beginning, it is assuredly modest, but what is terribly important is that it is a beginning.”

Ag Commissioner Hosts Taste NY Culinary Tour

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

The state’s Taste NY Culinary Tour in the Hudson Valley was conducted Monday by Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

The tour provided more than 30 leading restaurateurs and chefs from the Hudson Valley, New York City, Western New York, Central New York and Capital Regions a first-hand look at the quality and diversity of New York agriculture in the region.  
Following two successful Taste NY Culinary Tours in the Finger Lakes and on Long Island in August, Monday’s tour included visits to three farms and processors across Dutchess and Ulster counties. As a result of the three tours, nearly 100 chefs and restaurant owners from across the state have been introduced to some of New York state’s best agricultural food and beverage producers.
The Culinary Tours were organized following the Governor’s Farm to Table Upstate-Downstate Summit in an effort to connect restaurateurs with regional producers and growers, and highlight the many opportunities for the sourcing of local foods.
The Hudson Valley region is known for its strengths in the agricultural industry — its rich soils, abundant water supply and proximity to metropolitan markets.Dutchess County agriculture comprises over 170,000 acres, one third of its total acreage), producing $44.8 million in market value products, a large part of the county’s $438 million tourism industry.  

Agriculture is also the county’s third largest employer. 

Ulster County also has a long agricultural history and is home to a diverse array of agricultural enterprises including fruit and vegetable production as well as dairy and egg.
The three stops on the Hudson Valley Culinary Tour included Hepworth Farms in Milton, Ulster County (vegetables), Bad Seed Cider in Highland, Ulster County (cider), and Hudson Valley Fresh in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County (dairy farm). 
Hepworth Farms is a seventh generation family farm that produces more than 400 varieties of vegetables using organic practices on its 250 acres of farmland. Produce is sold to restaurants, processors and at farmers’ markets, and the farm works with several local distributors to sell its vegetables in the wholesale marketplace. 

While at Hepworth Farms, participants had the opportunity to tour the packinghouse and get a firsthand look at operations. 
Participants also visited Bad Seed Cider in Highland, which makes its cider with 100 percent fresh pressed apples, some of which are grown at neighboring Wilklow Orchards. Manhattan Beer sells the cider wholesale throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City area.   
At Stormfield Swiss in Wappingers Falls, one of the dairy farms in the Hudson Valley Fresh cooperative, participants toured the farm, learned about the dairy cooperative enterprise, and sampled various dairy products. Hudson Valley Fresh produces whole, skim, low-fat and chocolate milk along with half and half, heavy cream, yogurt, ice cream mix and sour cream. Milk is locally sourced, processed and distributed to local businesses.
“We feel it is important to provide these tours so that the consumer has the opportunity to see firsthand where their product comes from. They also see the care that goes into a product which they use every day," said Jennifer DeForest, owner of Stormfield Swiss, one of nine farms producing Hudson Valley Fresh milk.

Amy Hepworth, owner of Hepworth Farms, said, “Anytime anyone in the food industry knows more about agriculture as it pertains to their food and food supply, the better. It’s very important for chefs and others to understand agriculture first hand and this is what this opportunity presents.Chefs influence people," said Amy Hepworth, owner of Hepworth Farms.

The Taste NY Culinary Tour concluded with a tour of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. A reception to kick off Hudson Valley Restaurant Week capped off the evening with more than 300 guests.