State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball today announced the New York State Grown & Certified program will take center stage at the upcoming 2017 New York Produce Show, the second largest produce trade show in North America. For the first time ever, the Department of Agriculture and Markets is sponsoring cooking demonstrations by top New York chefs from the American Culinary Federation and launching a promotional video to showcase the New York State Grown & Certified program to a large retail audience. In addition, the program will be prominently featured at the Department’s trade show exhibit, which highlights the diversity of New York’s specialty crop growers to connect them with global buyers.
“The New York Produce Show is one of the best ways for New York producers to network with major industry buyers from all over the world because it brings them together under one roof,” said Commissioner Ball. “This year, we are very excited to be expanding our presence at the show to help raise the profile of our incredible grower community and to spotlight New York’s leadership in food safety and environmental stewardship through our Grown & Certified program.”
Jim Prevor, founder of Perishable Pundit and Produce Business, which co-sponsors the New York Produce Show said, “The New York Produce Show and Conference gathers together thought and practice leaders from across the globe. It allows New York producers to showcase their produce to the world while the attention of the global produce trade pivots to New York. In addition to being a major producer of fruits and vegetables, New York lies at the epicenter of the largest consumer market in America, so buyers and sellers both come to New York to educate themselves through the event’s seminar program, to build relationships through its networking events and to do business through its trade show.”
Held December 11 through 13 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, the Produce Show features over 400 companies from around the world and attracts more than 5,000 attendees. This year, more than 400 retailers, wholesalers, foodservice distributors and restauranteurs are expected to attend the keynote breakfast, which will include a promotional video spotlighting New York State Grown & Certified.
Following the breakfast, the Department will join the event organizers for a ribbon-cutting event to officially launch the trade show. The ribbon-cutting will be held Wednesday, December 13 at 10a.m. in the Javits Center Hall 1C.
In addition, New York chefs from the American Culinary Federation, the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America, will use Grown & Certified ingredients in four cooking demonstrations held during the trade show at the Center Stage Chef Demonstration Area. Also, for the second year, the Department’s exhibit, located in booths 100 to105, will include a New York State Grown & Certified display to promote the specialty crop growers participating in the program, NY maple products, NY wines and a chef-prepared salad featuring New York State Grown & Certified vegetables.
Nationally, New York ranks in the top 10 in production of 30 commodities, including many specialty crops such as apples, cabbage, snap beans, grapes, pears, and maple. The funding to promote New York’s grower community at this event is provided to the Department through the United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Fund.
Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers Association, said, “NYS Maple Producers are looking forward to showcasing our delicious natural sweetener and all the uses it can be put to at this event. The produce show provides us great visibility with chefs and market owners who may not realize New York has a thriving maple production.”
Brian Reeves, President of the NYS Vegetable Growers Association, said, “The New York Produce Show provides a great opportunity for growers to network with produce buyers, see what’s new in produce packaging and further their knowledge of various sales channels. Whether new relationships develop or old ones are reinforced, the New York Produce Show allows for efficient use of time with so many industry leaders at one location.”
Dave Walczak, Sales and Operations Manager at Eden Valley Growers, Director of the Western New York Food Hub, said, “The opportunity to enhance relationships with current customers while creating new opportunities for growth within New York State is a win, win! The New York Produce Show provides both, in a great venue at a great time of the year.”
Paul Alward, Farmer and Co-founder of Hudson Valley Harvest, said “New York is exceptionally fortunate to have a depth and breadth of talented farmers growing and raising a remarkably diverse array of food. The New York State Grown & Certified program will open new markets and sales channels for New York farms, and provide consumers with the transparency they want.”
Governor Cuomo launched New York State Grown & Certified in 2016 to help meet the growing consumer demand for local foods grown or produced to a higher standard. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. It is supported by a marketing campaign including on-product labels, promotional materials, such as the New York State Grown & Certified website, and sales materials, to educate retail and wholesale buyers on the value of the program.
There are currently 76 fruit and vegetable growers and 11 Christmas tree growers operating nearly 50,000 acres of farmland in the state participating in the program. For more information on New York State Grown & Certified, visit certified.ny.gov, or follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.