State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today encouraged shoppers looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift to visit a Taste NY Market and buy local in support of New York’s farmers. New York’s regional Taste NY Markets and Taste NY stores around the State offer specialty gift items as well as pre-made and customized gift baskets. Many feature promotional holiday items and packages ranging from wine and cheese, chocolates and heart-shaped baked goods, to luxury hand-milled bath products, and even ingredients to serve up a delicious Valentine’s Day meal.
Commissioner Ball said, “Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and exchanging locally made chocolates, confectionaries and other New York-made specialty items with your friends and loved ones is a great way to celebrate the holiday while supporting local businesses. Our Taste NY Market managers have made it easy and have selected top-notch New York grown and produced foods and other hand-crafted items and specialty products. I encourage everyone looking for the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day to consider purchasing gifts at Taste NY Markets and stores.”
Gift sets and baskets feature a wide selection of local gourmet food items, locally produced craft beverages, New York made novelty items, customizable gifts and bath and beauty products.
Taste NY Markets are also a great place to purchase locally sourced foods and beverages that can be used to create fresh and delicious meals to celebrate the holiday. Charcuterie meats and cheeses, wine and cider, and pancake mix and maple syrup are among many grocery items featured in Taste NY stores and markets, as well as product displays in travel and tourism hubs across the State.
Welcome Center Taste NY Markets and stores across the State are holding special promotions and offering special products:
- NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center (Taste NY Auburn): Gretchen’s Confections packaged truffles, small chocolate gift baskets, health and beauty gift baskets featuring Avital’s Apiaries soaps, lotions and bath fizzies, breakfast gift baskets with New Hope Mills pancake mix, Smokey Maple Hollow maple syrup, maple cream and Nelson Farms hot chocolate or Java Joe's coffee.
- Todd Hill: Best-selling gourmet chocolates from Lagusta's Luscious, in New Paltz, Chocolat Moderne from New York, and Fruition Chocolate from Shokan.
- Mohawk Valley: Promotions and samples of Saratoga Chocolates, EMVI and Chip ‘N Dipped, as well as a free hot beverage with any candy purchase if a customer likes, shares or comments on the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center’s Facebook page.
- Central New York: “Saturdays are for Sweeties” will replace Sample Saturdays in February. Anyone who takes a selfie with their “sweetie” anywhere in the Center and tags the Welcome Center will receive a heart-shaped lollipop. Chocolate pizzas, Valentine’s items and other holiday-themed products will be featured on display.
- Western New York: Valentine’s Day gift baskets will include a Pampering Basket with body lotion, lip balm a candle and tea; Chocolate Lover’s Basket with chocolate-covered popcorn, sponge candy, chocolate covered nuts, and chocolate buffalo; Couch Potato Basket with a six pack of beer, NY Chips, popcorn and Bison Dip; Breakfast in Bed with pancake mix, maple syrup, coffee K-cups, jam, granola; and even a four-legged Valentine Basket with assorted dog treats. Caramel hot cocoa Toonie Moonie with marshmallow cream will be offered, along with heart-shaped conversation cookies and a “Bring Your Sweetie to Lunch” deal.
- Capital Region: Cupid’s Cappuccino, with double espresso, hot chocolate mix, cherry juice and steamed milk, will be offered, as well as heart shaped cookies, chocolate pops, chocolate boxes, and massage oil, body cream, candles and his and hers gift bags.
- Adirondacks: Locally sourced products will be available through state-of-the-art micro vending machines featuring I Love NY mugs with Taste NY products spotlighting various chocolates.
- Finger Lakes: A special 10% discount on all craft beverages, chocolate and cheese on Valentine’s Day. Special gift baskets will consist of wine, chocolate and cheese.
- Hudson Valley: Hard cider tastings the week of February 14th, with 25% off and the option to enter for a chance to win a New York Local Love gift box. (A random drawing will be held on the morning of the 14th. The winner will be notified via email and the box will ship the same day.)
- Long Island: Valentine’s Day themed decorations and displays will include various chocolates and other food and beverage items available through self-checkout kiosks. On February 9th, Milene Jardine Chocolat will demonstrate how to temper chocolate and make chocolate dipped dried fruits.
- Southern Tier: Chocolate tastings on Feb. 8, and chocolate specials throughout the facility.
For a complete list of Taste NY locations, hours of operation and contact information, visit the Taste NY website.
In addition, there are 11 Welcome Centers located across New York State, including many that showcase locally grown and sourced products from the region and from across the State. The Welcome Centers also provide residents and travelers the opportunity to connect with each region’s tourism attractions and destinations.
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “Taste NY’s unique and delectable offerings represent the best New York State has to offer, make great Valentine’s Day gifts and support businesses right here in New York State.”
Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, “From chocolates to honey and everything in between, the State’s Welcome Centers offer sweet treats for Valentines of all ages. I encourage all drivers to visit a Welcome Center along their route to explore the unique, homemade products and support our local farmers and vendors.”
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "There’s no better place to celebrate Valentine’s Day than New York State and no better way to add flavor to your celebration than with our homegrown Taste NY products. We encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of the many wonderful food and beverages our great state has to offer.”
Western NY Welcome Center Taste NY Market Manager Renee Day said, “It’s the thought that counts when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts and we hope that people will think ‘Taste New York’ and buy New York’s local chocolatiers for Valentine gifts and choose local restaurants for that special night out.”
Central NY Welcome Center Manager Allyson Towndrow said, “We are hoping that during this Valentine’s season our visitors not only show love for each other but love for New York as well. Stop by the Welcome Center to see all the products and places we love.”
Taste NY Auburn Market Manager Heather A. Ward said, “If you are looking for something unique for your special Valentine, Taste NY Auburn carries a variety of chocolates from Gretchen's Confection that are produced right here in Auburn, as well as health and beauty items from Avital Apiaries, Heather's Goat Milk Products and 117 Apothecary. We have lovely candles from Sunbeam Candle Company. Shop local for your special someone and receive 10% off these products until February 14th.”
About Taste NY
The Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth and recognition since it was created in 2013. The program, which is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, creates opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at a variety of venues throughout the State and at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park. It has also helped the farms and companies participating in the program to reach more customers, increase online sales, and, in many cases, expand the processing capacity of their business. Taste NY’s food and beverage businesses also support the State’s farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products.