Across-the-Board Increases Support the Fair’s Mission to Support Agriculture and Boost New York’s Food and Beverage Industries
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that sales of New York food and beverage products hit record highs at the 2017 Great New York State Fair, which set its own record for total attendance. Sales of milk, potatoes, maple products, and scores of other New York-produced products soared to new levels in the second year of Governor Cuomo’s multi-phase plan for revitalizing the nation’s oldest state fair.
New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, “Many more people are discovering through the Fair and our programs, such as Taste NY and New York Grown & Certified, that New York producers make some of the best food and beverages in the world. The Fair’s success is also success for our farmers and producers as more fairgoers find reasons to buy local.”
Troy Waffner, State Fair Acting Director, said, “The number one thing people come to the Fair for is food. These results show that the Fair is achieving its mission of connecting New Yorkers to agriculture and we are already hard at work to bring more people and more New York products than ever to the 2018 Fair.”
Sales of the Fair’s signature 25-cent cup of cold New York milk and the $1 baked potato with all the fixings registered strong sales increases this year. At the Milk Bar, 436,028 cups of white and chocolate milk were sold, an increase of 9.5% from the year before. The Fair assumed operation of the Milk Bar this year and its new vendor shortened the traditionally long lines by adding token dispensers and increasing the number of milk pouring stations to move crowds in a more efficient manner. Byrne Dairy, a fourth generation, Central New York, family-owned dairy processor and distributor, supplied the milk. Byrne Dairy participates in the State’s New York State Grown & Certified promotional program to highlight farms that adhere to food safety and environmental standards.
In addition, sales at the Great Potato Booth rose 17.1%, to $64,598. Regular potatoes sold at the booth are grow locally and the sweet potatoes are served with New York State maple. Together, the Milk Bar and Great Potato Booth generated approximately $173,605 in revenue.
The Fair also assumed operation of the New York Cheese Booth in the Dairy Products Building this year. A State Fair-branded cheese was sold for the first time ever, created by McCadam Cheese, a North Country dairy processor. McCadam Cheese is also New York State Grown & Certified. More than 6,300 blocks of cheese were sold during the Fair, representing more than $40,000 in total sales.
At the Maple Booth, sales rose by about 8%, according to the New York Maple Association, which operates the stand. This year, the Association offered several new products, such as maple soda, alongside many various types of syrup and products made with maple. Maple cotton candy sales rose 15%, while a fresh-made, maple-frosted donut sold so well that production had to be increased daily to meet demand.
The Taste NY Marketplace, which moved to its new home in the Horticulture Building, registered a 14% increase in sales. Together with the Taste NY sampling stations located adjacent to the marketplace, the program presented fairgoers with products from more than 100 New York food and beverage producers. Taste NY is Governor Cuomo’s program created to promote the best products grown and made in New York State.
Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York Maple Association said, “We had to work harder than ever this year to keep up with the demand for these great New York maple products, and that’s great news! Our producers had a great year and we are looking forward to winning over even more New Yorkers in the year ahead.”
The Fair increased its support of agriculture in other ways as well, launching the following events and exhibits in 2017:
- A new exhibit on industrial hemp from SUNY-Morrisville, highlighting the State’s support of the industry;
- A new competition to find the best craft beers in the State. The competition attracted more than 700 entries from New York brewers;
- First-ever guided tours of the animal barns;
- Tours of the horse barns;
- The new Ag Careers Day to connect fairgoers to information on careers in agriculture; and
- The new Timber Sports and Forestry Day, highlighting careers in that sector while offering exciting demonstrations of timber sports events.
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.