Submitted by Assemblyman Will Barclay
Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,Iâ€”Pulaski) is working with the International Center of Syracuse, the U.S. State Department and farmers throughout the Central New York and the Finger Lakes Region to give farmers here a first-hand opportunity to learn about the international agriculture industry.
The international visitors from Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe near the Ukraine, are touring wineries, farms and orchards throughout the Finger Lakes and Central New York region this week to learn how farmers here have used agriculture as a way to gain tourists and draw outside visitors to the region.
â€œIâ€™m pleased to be involved in hosting the Moldavians. Our farmers have a good deal to be proud of, as they are being held up as a model for agritourism in the international community. Hopefully the visit the week enabled our farmers to trade ideas that will help them in their pursuit of improving their businesses and local agritourism pursuits as well,â€ said Barclay.
On Friday the international visitors met at Abbottâ€™s Farms in Baldwinsville. Abbott Farms regularly hosts schools and other groups to teach people how cider is made and how apples are grown and harvested. Warren Abbott gave the tour.
â€œWe like to teach folks that apples come from a farm. We like to encourage people to buy local as much as possible. The Pride of New York label has helped our farm be able to market itself and agritourism has also become a big component of our business. I enjoyed learning from our peers from Moldova who we are not in direct competition with so we can learn freely about other agribusinesses from the international business community. Iâ€™m grateful to Assemblyman Barclayâ€™s office and the International Center of Syracuse for giving us the opportunity,â€ said Abbott.
The International Center of Syracuse, founded in 1965, is an independent, community-sponsored, not-for-profit organization. The agency provides high-quality services and programs that facilitate cross-cultural and international exchange in Central New York. The agency works with the Open World Program, which enables young Eurasian elected officials and civic leaders to observe American democratic system firsthand. The recent tour is a result of this partnership.
â€œWeâ€™re pleased Assemblyman Barclay can help us host our international visitors. It is through his office that we have been able to help our guests understand more about agritourism and how this may work for them in their home country. They have learned a good deal about wineries in the region, different agriculture programs the state has and about agriculture in general in New York this week. We hope good business relations come from their visit,â€ said Ruth Ragonese, executive director of the International Center of Syracuse.
The Pride of New York Program was developed to promote and support the sale of agricultural products grown and food products processed within New York State. The Programâ€™s growing membership now includes farmers and processors, retailers, distributors, restaurants and related culinary and support associations Â all working together to bring quality New York State products. Agritourism is a growing part of the agriculture industry in New York. Wineries began opening doors and creating wine trails. Many other farmers including maple producers, apple and pumpkin growers have also banded together in recent years to draw visitors to their farms for tours, hayrides and hands-on demonstrations that provide education concerning locally-grown produce.