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The 800 pound butter sculpture of a scene off the farm (seen here on the World Dairy Business Blog) is usually the headliner at the Dairy Building of the New York State Fair.But people wait in a long line for another hot item being used to promote New York’s dairy industry: a cup of milk that costs a quarter at the dairy bar.That includes a young James Moore, who says "It’s the best chocolate milk and white milk I’ve ever tasted in my life." "The Chocolate is more chocolaty and it’s nice and cold."The milk is all whole milk, which probably helps. Chocolate milk rules overall. The milk bar serves five cups of chocolate for every cup of plain milk.Mary Ellen Chesbro, agricultural manager for the fair says the total cups served goes up every year. This year, she's hoping the milk bar will top 400,000 cups of milk out this year.The whole operation is run by a task force of volunteers from the dairy industry, from farmers to distributors. The goal is to promote New York dairy – the state’s biggest agricultural product.Seventeen-year old Dale Durant, who serves milk to fairgoers says it can get pretty busy at the counter."Really nice days there’s a lot of people here. Weekends we get really busy."So to get a taste, go when it’s raining.And keep an eye out for the other smart entrepreneurial move in the Dairy building - the Syracuse bakery selling cookies next to the milk bar.

Green thumbs up for Cuomo’s farmers' markets plan

Cuomo wants encourage the growing trend of green markets to reach high-need areas.
Sara Robertson
via Flickr
Cuomo wants encourage the growing trend of green markets to reach high-need areas.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would aggressively, “seek ways to expand the presence of locally-grown food markets in urban areas,” in his State of the State Address on Wednesday.

Lea Webb, District 4 councilwoman representing parts of North and Central Binghamton, says she was pleased to hear urban markets make it into the governor’s address. Webb has been leading efforts to bring in the first supermarket to the city’s North Side in almost 15 years. She describes the area as a ‘food desert.’

“People haven’t had a choice,” says Webb. "It’s either you have transportation issues so you have to go way out of your way, miles and miles out of your way to get food that’s better and less costly, or you just deal with what you have in your area.”

Webb said creating more options would be a step in the right direction to address health issues and other disparities.

Cuomo’s Transformational Plan for a New New York did not put a dollar figure on support for green markets, but did say that the governor’s policy would be a win-win for New York’s food producers, as well as for urban residents.

Cuomo's plan also includes developing “Share NY Food," a community supported agriculture program to help small farmers to raise capital for production, and get local produce into underserved urban markets.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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