New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today continued the State's 10-year anniversary celebration of Taste NY, New York's official 'eat local, drink local' program, with an open house event at the Long Island Welcome Center in Dix Hills. The event showcased the diversity and uniqueness of New York State's farmers and food and beverage producers, as well as Long Island’s regional tourism offerings. Today's celebration marked the second in a series of events that are planned across the state in recognition of the 2023 10-year milestone and the Taste NY program's success over the last decade, including over $1 million in sales at the Long Island Welcome Center from October 2021 through September 2022.
Commissioner Ball said, “Our Taste NY program has become a staple of New York agriculture over its 10 years, introducing more fresh, local, unique products to New Yorkers and visitors alike, in every corner of our great state. We’re excited to be on Long Island today to celebrate this anniversary at the Long Island Welcome Center with our great partners and local producers who work so hard to make this program a success.”
Taste NY has grown significantly since its launch, bringing over $100 million in economic impact to New York State producers over 10 years of the program. New York State 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 celebration event at the Long Island 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 Subtle Tea, the NY Honey Company, Acabonac Farms, Mongo’s Coffee, Lucky Lou’s Rice Pudding, the Granola Plant, and Chip’n Dipped Chocolatier. Additionally, the Welcome Center offered promotions including special product discounts and a 10th anniversary gift basket raffle.
First opened in 2016, the Taste NY Market at the Long Island Welcome Center works closely with area agriculture and culinary vendors to promote food and beverage producers from the Long Island area and from across New York. Since its opening, the Welcome Center has brought in products from over 200 vendors across the state, introducing approximately 100,000 visitors to the best New York products annually. The Welcome Center has also managed kiosks at both Penn Station and Moynihan Train Terminal and is involved with the Long Island Fair each year, working to bring more recognition to local products and help the program’s vendors find new markets. From October 2021 through September 2022, the Welcome Center's sales totaled over $1 million, making a direct economic impact on New York’s farmers and food producers and marking an incredible milestone in the location’s history.
About the Long Island Welcome Center
The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art Long Island Welcome Center includes a Taste NY Market to showcase a broad selection of fresh-made breakfast and lunch items, including soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts using ingredients sourced from Long Island and New York State growers. It also offers grab-and-go snacks and specialty local items for purchase, and is home to an outdoor farmers’ market open on Saturdays and Sundays through the summer season, spotlighting Long Island farms.
Additionally, five I LOVE NEW YORK touchscreen information kiosks at the Welcome Center provide travelers with the opportunity to learn more about the Long Island tourism region. An interactive map provides suggested destinations based on the user’s interests, allowing them to browse regional attractions, from historical sites to local wineries, and create an itinerary, which they can take with them via email. The Welcome Center is operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County.
Agriculture on Long Island is incredibly diverse with well over 100 different crops grown and produced. Its producers provide abundant, high-quality commodities, such as vegetables and potatoes, fruits, poultry and livestock, nursery and floriculture products, seafood, and varieties of wine and grapes. According to the Long Island Farm Bureau, agri-businesses in the region employ well over 8,000 people, supporting Long Island’s largest industry—tourism, travel, and hospitality.
Amy Lesh, Market Manager, Taste NY at the Long Island Welcome Center said, “The Long Island Welcome Center Team, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County are thrilled to celebrate Taste Turns 10. Taste NY is an exciting program allowing us to highlight Long Island producers as well as showcase agricultural production throughout the state. One of the most rewarding aspects is being able to connect producers to enhance their products. We encourage all to stop by and enjoy a cup of locally brewed coffee as well as locally crafted treats all while taking in the history of Long Island.”
Kyle Chandler, Founder and Brewmaster of Subtle Tea said, “From our first order over 20 cases, to our first order over 100 cases, to connecting us to other local supplies, Taste NY has always supported Long Island’s only locally brewed and bottled iced tea, Subtle Tea. The team at Taste NY has helped introduced our product to all the regions of New York, from regional welcome centers to distributors and local retailers. Subtle Tea has grown to have over 400 New York business selling our craft brewed organic iced tea, thanks to Taste NY!”
“Known for our world-class wine country, family-owned farms, orchards, pumpkin patches, flower fields and more, Long Island’s thriving agriculture industry has become a key driver of our $6.3 billion annual tourism economy,” said Discover Long Island President & CEO, Kristen Reynolds, CDME. “Long Island is home to nearly 600 working farms and countless artisans who produce award-winning, high-quality ingredients and Taste NY gives locals and visitors the opportunity to experience these rich, exclusive Long Island flavors at iconic locations across the region - from Jones Beach theater to the Long Island Welcome Center.”
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, the New York State Department of Transportation, and Empire State Development. 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 is honoring the statewide #TasteTurns10 celebration by offering free statewide shipping all year with a minimum purchase of $25 and highlighting each region's products with 25% markdowns during the month of their 10th anniversary event. The next event will take place in the North Country in April and information about additional events will be posted on Taste.NY.gov when it becomes available.
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.