Taste NY was launched by the state of New York three years ago and aimed to market the state’s artisan food and agricultural businesses. Governor Andrew Cuomo is announcing plans to expand the program to help producers triple their sales. Deb Morris, co-founder of Barkeater (handmade gourmet chocolate company) says, “We like the trend we are seeing, we like the efforts launched by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. We haven’t seen that kind of effort before and it’s gaining a lot of momentum.”
New York-based companies are seeing the benefits from being a part of Taste NY. For example, Bobby Sue’s Nuts began as a company that aimed to raise funds for a local cause in Westchester. Founder Barb Kobren joined Taste NY and now has her snacks as one of the many in-state products for sale at Taste NY shops opened last year at LaGuardia and JFK airports. While a lot of the focus has been placed on prepared-food ventures such as chocolates and snacks, Taste NY is also focusing on fresh produce and partnering with farmers, farmer’s markets and other retails to promote the state’s fresh fruit and vegetable growers.
New York’s economic development agency recently launched a new grant program to encourage beginning farmers to get started and be successful. Grants will be issued from $15,000-$50,0000 under the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund. Morris says,“There are always certain ingredients we would love to source locally, there are some we do have here like maple and apples. And obviously there are some things that are naturally here that we would love to get at a lower price. If the farmers are getting some kind of cost benefit, that means we will too.”
To read more about the expansion of Taste NY and the benefits for New-York based farmers and companies, click here