By Senator Patty Ritchie
If you’re like me, when you think summer, you think fresh food.
What you might not realize is that with every piece of corn-on-the-cob you eat, and every slice of cheese, and every fresh picked apple, you’re not just satisfying your appetite, you’re also supporting New York’s farmers.
With the season now in full swing at 27 farmers’ markets across Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, you have the chance to sample everything from strawberries to snap peas, cheese to meat, onions to fresh picked fruit, all direct from the people who grow them.
And there’s proof that buying local, and healthy, is becoming more of a trend.
Today, New York has more than 560 farmers’ markets, nearly double the amount 10 years ago!
If you’ve never visited your local farmers’ market, or you’re just looking for a new spot in your area to buy the best our local farmers have to offer, visit www.ritchie.nysenate.gov for a link to a list of the markets in our area.
While you’re there, take some time to vote and tell me which farmers’ markets are the best. I will be sure to share the results.
As your state senator, and chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, I’ve been doing my part to make sure the rest of the state is able to take advantage of the delicious and healthy foods we grow in Upstate New York.
Recently, I offered to partner with New York City’s Mayor and the head of the City Council on a plan to bring more local, i.e. New York-made, foods to Big Apple schools, prisons and employee lunch rooms. The city’s plan requires 10 percent of purchases be made from local sources.
Not only will the plan promote healthy eating to New Yorkers living downstate, it will also provide a big boost to our region’s agricultural economy.
I also cosponsored the “Buy From the Backyard Act,” which passed the Senate this spring, and would require state agencies, prisons and hospitals to buy 20 percent of their food from New York growers and producers.
There’s still plenty of summer left, and plenty of time to get your fill of your favorite seasonal foods.
I encourage you to visit your local farmers’ market in an effort to eat local, help support our state’s agricultural industry and stay healthy.
Visit my website to see a list of farmers’ markets in our region and to cast your vote for the best of the best.