Saturday, January 7, 2017

Tops Friendly Markets Promoting NYS Grown & Certified Program

Tops Friendly Markets will promote the New York State Grown & Certified program to highlight farms that qualify under the New York State Grown & Certified seal. 

Tops is the first grocery retailer to feature and market product grown by New York farmers who adhere to the program’s requirements, including verification of safe food handling practices and participation in environmental sustainability programs. 

Producst sold under the state’s NYS Grown & Certified seal will be available at more than 80 Tops stores in the Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions. As the state continues to roll out the retail component of the program, product will be available at additional retailers.
“New York is supporting locally-grown products and promoting healthy lifestyles by connecting farm-fresh food with consumers across the state," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Under the NYS Grown & Certified program, Tops Friendly Markets will bring certified foods to local communities, support our hard-working farms and provide nutritional food options to New Yorkers statewide.”
A state Grown & Certified pilot display was unveiled at a Tops store in Erie County Jan. 6 that features produce, including herbs, cabbage and acorn and butternut squash from farms in the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions. 

Consumers will also find fruits and other vegetables branded under the NYS Grown & Certified seal at participating Tops stores. A total of 145 Tops stores across the state will begin promoting NYS Grown & Certified products in the coming weeks. 

The state Department of Agriculture & Markets is also working with other retailers to market NYS Grown & Certified products.
A NYS Grown & Certified social media campaign has launched to further market New York farms involved in the initiative and educate consumers on the value of the program. Consumers can now follow NYS Grown & Certified on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Additionally, several promotional videos were created to give consumers an inside look at NYS Grown & Certified farms. The videos feature Satur Farms on Long Island and Minkus Family Farms in the Hudson Valley. 

They are available by clicking at this link and at this link.
To highlight the New York producers who meet program requirements, NYS Grown & Certified is supported by a multi-pronged marketing campaign, including on-product labels, promotional materials, website and social media channels. 

Cuomo launched the NYS Grown & Certified program in August 2016. The program identifies and promotes New York producers who adhere to New York’s food safety and environmental sustainability programs and assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced at a higher-standard. 

It requires that producers be verified for safe food handling practices through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Good Agricultural Practices program (or an equivalent program) and enroll in the state’s Agricultural Environmental Management program. 

The initiative was the focus of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets’ exhibit at the New York Produce Show in New York City in December, and the New York State Agricultural Society annual forum Jan. 5. It also will display at the Empire State Producers Expo Jan. 17-19 in Syracuse. 

For more information on NYS Grown & Certified, go to this link.

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