Odessa, N.Y., October 3—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and his father, John, visited Sunset View Creamery in Schuyler County in late August to sample a few locally made cheeses and help bring attention to an important sector of New York State’s agricultural industry.
It was also an opportunity for the Senator and his father to reflect on their own family’s history in New York State cheese making. Senator O’Mara’s grandfather, also named John, was a cheese maker and owned and operated the Colosse Cheese Factory  in Oswego County in the early 20th Century. Senator O’Mara’s father grew up working in the factory throughout his high school and college years. Colosse Cheese is still produced in Pulaski, but the O’Mara family is no longer involved in the business.
Sunset View Creamery  is a Farmstead & Artisan Cheese Production Facility that’s operated on Hoffmans Dairy, a century farm located in Odessa, New York, just south of Watkins Glen. Fourth and fifth generation Hoffmans operate the farm and all the milk used in their cheese making comes from their predominantly Holstein herd.
In the photo, from left to right: Senator O’Mara, Ron Hoffman, owner and operator of Hoffmans Dairy, and John O’Mara show the New York State Fair 1st Place medals for cheese making that Colosse Cheese was awarded in 1937 and 1941, when Senator O’Mara’s grandfather operated the factory.
“My father and I appreciated the recent hospitality of Ron Hoffman and his family, as well as the chance to sample some great locally made cheeses. We have some meaningful family history in the cheese manufacturing industry. So it was also a chance for my father to remember his father, for me to recall my grandfather, and for all of us to reflect on how far the industry’s come since the first half of the 20th century. Cheese making has long played an important role in so many upstate New York communities, including Schuyler County,” said Senator O’Mara. “And the great news is that it’s still going strong and has an exciting and promising future.”
For more information on local cheese makers, including dates for this fall’s Open Houses (including the upcoming Columbus Day weekend, October 6-8, 2012) and other events, visit the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail online at http://flcheesetrail.com/ . And remember that it’s a great complement to the wine trails of the Finger Lakes (http://www.fingerlakeswinesociety.com/trails/index.html , or http://www.fingerlakes.com/wine ).