New Competition Supports State’s Effort to Boost Concord Grape Industry in New York State
The Jam and Jelly competition at The Great New York State Fair’s 2018 Culinary Competition will feature a new class dedicated to New York State-grown Concord grapes, Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner announced today. The competition, sponsored by Hunter & Hilsberg, will be judged on Friday, August 24. The event is one of more than a dozen culinary competitions and part of more than 70 agriculture and arts competitions taking place during the Fair.
The addition of the new class advances the State’s efforts to raise awareness of the Concord grape industry. Last month, the State hosted a Concord Grape Summit at the Grape Discovery Center in Western New York. State representatives, growers, researchers, processors and other stakeholders attended the summit to address the challenges and opportunities associated with the Concord grape industry in New York. During the summit, several initiatives were announced to help strengthen the industry, including expanding research, investing in new product and new market development, and expanding marketing and promotional programs.
Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “We hope that this new class will encourage New York State residents to take advantage of the large Concord grape industry in our area. It’s a great opportunity to support and showcase the very best of our state products.”
Hunter & Hilsberg co-founder Hillary Hunter said, “Some of my fondest memories growing up in Upstate New York are of spending time in my grandmother’s kitchen, watching and learning how to make Concord jelly from grapes grown in her backyard. The annual Jam & Jelly competition helps keep this culinary art form alive -- and what better way than with unique recipes using New York’s iconic Concord grape. We can’t wait to taste the new recipes and ideas from home cooks across New York State!”
Entries for the new class must be a jam, jelly, preserve, or other fruit blend spread using New York State-grown Concord grapes or Concord juice. The entries will be judged on appearance, texture, and taste. Other classes in the Jam and Jelly competition are: jelly, fruit jam or fruit blend jam, jam or jelly containing a New York State-produced craft wine, beer or other spirit, and a special class of jelly prepared without commercially-prepared pectin. Hunter & Hilsberg will also give a jelly-making demonstration on Saturday, August 25 in the Wegmans Demonstration Kitchen in the Art & Home Center.
The Culinary Competition is held daily during the Fair in the Art & Home Center. This year’s competition features contests from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, the New York State Maple Producers Association, and the Empire State Potato Growers Club, among others. Those interested in entering a competition must fill out an entry form by July 2. For a complete list of contests and entry rules, visit https://nysfair.ny.gov/competitions/how-to-enter/.
About Hunter & Hilsberg
Hunter & Hilsberg, of Syracuse, NY, is a producer of simple-ingredient fruit jellies and preserves. The company has been a long-standing supporter of regional farms and small businesses through its purchasing and advocacy. The company’s fruit spreads are available at Wegmans, Williams-Sonoma, Market32, Price Chopper, Walmart, gourmet and farm stores, and online at www.hunterhilsberg.com.
About New York’s Concord Grape Industry
New York is the nation's second largest Concord grape producer, and the Lake Erie Concord Belt is the oldest and largest Concord grape growing region in the world. About 30,000 acres of grape vineyards are located along the belt with the majority, more than 18,000 acres, growing in New York State. The Concord variety is used in the production of many value-added products, including grape juice, jellies and marmalades, and wine.
New York's Concord Grape industry has a significant impact on the state economy and beyond. A study conducted by the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, with assistance from Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University, estimated that each year, growers in the Concord Grape Belt produce 150,000 tons or more of Concord grapes on 30,000 acres of vineyards. Dozens of value-added products are processed locally and sold across the United States and exported around the world.
Overall, grape-related production activities like growing, processing and winemaking support nearly 2,000 jobs and contribute $340 million in total economic impact.
In recent years, New York's Concord grape growers have experienced challenges due to a combination of changing consumer preferences for juice products and oversupply of product that has reduced grape prices. Juice and jelly production businesses are also being impacted, with many closing or reducing production as a result. The Concord Grape Summit, first announced in the Governor's 2018-19 State of the State address, brought together agriculture, research and business leaders to discuss new developments and strategies to reinvigorate New York's Concord grape industry and boost the State's agricultural economy.
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 22 to September 3, 2018. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.
The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at firstname.lastname@example.org.