Mohawk Valley Taste 10th Anniversary
July 12, 2023
Albany, NY

State Agriculture Commissioner Celebrates Taste NY 10th Anniversary at Mohawk Valley Welcome Center

State Agriculture Commissioner Celebrates Taste NY 10th Anniversary at Mohawk Valley Welcome Center
Mohawk Valley Welcome Center’s Sales of Local New York Products Have Totaled Over $528,441 Since its Opening
New York's Flagship Eat Local, Drink Local Program Has Delivered Over $100 Million in Economic Impact Over its 10 Years

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 Mohawk Valley Welcome Center in Fultonville. The event showcased New York's farmers and food and beverage producers and the diverse and unique products grown and made in the State. Today's celebration marked the state’s recognition of the 2023 10-year milestone and the Taste NY program's success over the last decade, including $528,441 in sales at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center since its opening in 2017.  The Welcome Center has brought in products from over 150 farmers and food and beverage producers across the state.

Commissioner Ball said, "For ten years, the Taste NY program has helped promote our farmers and producers while showcasing the unique qualities of New York’s widely diverse regions. The Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, which highlights the region’s rich history as a transportation hub, has done a tremendous job of connecting travelers, tourists, and residents to some of the best food and beverages from across the state. I am grateful to the Welcome Center Staff and our partners at Liberty ARC for their efforts, and thank them for their work as we continue celebrating Taste NY’s 10th anniversary.”

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 sports venues, such as the 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 2023 FISU World University Games, and the Saratoga Race Course. Most recently, Taste NY producers were highlighted at the 2023 PGA Championship in Rochester.

Today's celebration at the Mohawk Valley 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. Vendor sampling at the event included Frasier’s Sugar Shack, Y-Not Cookies, Dygert Farms Creamery, Toonie Moonie and Whalen’s Horseradish Products.

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Commissioner Kerri Neifeld said, “Both the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center and the Taste NY program showcase the best of what New York has to offer. While Taste NY sells amazing products made here in New York, the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, in partnership with Liberty Arc, serves as a model for the best and most inclusive hiring practices for businesses. Through these inclusive hiring practices, businesses gain dedicated employees, the workforce better reflects the diversity of our communities and people with developmental disabilities find opportunity to apply their talents within their communities. We hope other businesses are inspired by the success of the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center and commit to helping us create a more inclusive workforce.”

Thruway Authority Interim Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said, “Over the last decade, the New York State Thruway system has proudly supported Taste NY by offering one of the largest footprints for its products and vendors. The 570-mile Thruway system prominently displays and features Taste NY products at all 27 Thruway service areas and three Welcome Centers on the Thruway system, and Taste NY Farm Markets generate more than $1.6 million in sales for local vendors each year. Congratulations Taste NY on 10 great years and cheers to many more.”

Taylor Goodman, Mohawk Valley Welcome Center Manager, said, “The team at Mohawk Valley Welcome Center is thrilled to be a part of the Taste NY program and this Taste Turns 10 celebration! We are honored to be able to support the Taste NY program and serve as a gateway between travelers, Mohawk Valley and producers through New York State.  A highlight for our patrons is finding that unique, local, New York merchandise as a gift for a friend or family member. We have proudly hosted more than 400,000 visitors since opening in 2017 and have seen our annual product sales nearly double.   Our employees’ excitement and commitment to the work they perform brings added passion to the Taste NY program and the living history a traveler will experience here at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center."

Jennifer Saunders, CEO of Liberty ARC, said, “It is an honor to celebrate a decade of Taste New York, and to highlight all the great things this program has done for local New York products and businesses. Operating the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center is a point of pride for all of us at Liberty ARC and we love that we can share access to great locally-made products.  The center consistently gets rave reviews and our staff take great pride in caring for one of the best welcome centers in the state.  We also take pride in supporting another important mission of New York State, employing individuals with disabilities in an inclusive and competitive environment.  The staff here at the Welcome Center includes people with disabilities who receive supports from Liberty ARC, and I consistently hear about how much the people here love their work. Whether travelers stop by for a rest, to grab a bite to eat, or to learn about the Mohawk Valley history, all of our visitors get a wonderful sampling of the friendly hospitality, delicious local food products, and natural beauty our area has to offer.

Montgomery County Director of Communications Morgan McClary said, “We are grateful to partner with the Taste of NY program. One of Montgomery County’s greatest features is our agritourism. The Mohawk Valley Welcome Center provides our farmers an incredible opportunity to showcase their products and entice visitors to delve into the amazing agribusinesses in our region.”

Bruce Frasier, owner of Frasier’s Sugar Shack, said, "We at Frasier's sugar shack are honored to be a part of the 10-year Taste New York anniversary. This has been a special opportunity to be a vendor at Lock 13- Mohawk Valley Welcome Center for 10 years. It has helped me to get our maple products across the state and beyond."

About the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center

First opened in 2017, the Taste NY Market at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center is operated through Liberty ARC, the Montgomery County Chapter of The ARC New York, a statewide, not-for-profit organization serving people with disabilities. Throughout the last seven years, this partnership has allowed 13 employees with disabilities achieve work experiences at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, eight of whom this was their very first job.

The Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, located along the shores of New York State’s historic Erie Canal, honors the region’s history as a hub of transportation and expansion. The welcome center showcases three major transportation arteries that helped build the Empire State and helped the U.S. expand west: the Erie Canal, the New York State Thruway, and the New York Central Railroad's water level route to Chicago. The grounds also include interactive kiosks featuring a “Path Through History,” a Walk of Fame highlighting influential historical figures from the region, and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant playground.

The Taste NY Market at the Welcome Center showcases a broad selection of local and New York State products in a vending model, ranging from fresh-made sandwiches and wraps with locally sourced ingredients, as well as grab-and-go snacks, beverages, and specialty local gift items for sale.

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, is honoring the statewide #TasteTurns10 celebration with 10% off online orders and free shipping on online orders over $50. Plus, every order will receive a 20% off and free shipping code via email good for use on the next order. The next event will take place in Central New York on August 28. Information about additional events will be posted on 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.