By Senator Patty Ritchie
This Monday, many Americans spent the day watching the 57th Inauguration ceremonies of the President and Vice President of the United States.
If you tuned in, there’s something you may not have caught, New York State food and drink taking center stage.
As in years past, an inaugural luncheon immediately followed the swearing-in ceremonies, and this year, those in attendance enjoyed a bit of New York flair.
Pre-meal snacks included apples, honey, cheese, yogurt and syrup – all produced in the Empire State.
Two of the three wines served were made in the Finger Lakes and Long Island.
None other than all-American apple pie, featuring more than 20 ingredients, all made in New York, including apples, honey and topping it all off, extras like aged cheese and ice cream.
Living in New York, we already know that the products made and grown here are top-notch.
And recently, there has been a new push to spread the word about the flavors that are notably New York.
As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I make it a priority to promote products made or grown here, and to help provide support to those behind the scenes.
New York State is currently home to more than 450 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries, which account for more than $22 billion in annual total economic impact in the state.
To help continue this growth, I sponsored legislation, signed into law by Governor Cuomo, which recognizes “Farm Breweries” and cuts taxes and red tape to help create jobs and give New York an edge in these growing industries.
I also co-sponsored the “Buy From the Backyard Act,” which requires state agencies, prisons and hospitals to buy 20 percent of their food from New York producers and growers.
Most recently, Governor Cuomo announced plans for “Taste-NY” an initiative that will help promote New York products. Part of the plan includes creating duty-free “Taste-NY” stores across the state, which will offer New York food and drink.
Only 200 people got the chance to taste Empire State food and drink at the inaugural luncheon.
But, here’s the good news: you have the opportunity to savor New York flavors every day.
I encourage you to stay healthy and support our hardworking farmers by buying the many varied (and not to mention tasty!) New York-made products.