Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column
Many people think of Memorial Day as the “unofficial” start to summer. But, for me, there’s something else that signals the start of the season: the opening of farmers markets across Central and Northern New York.
From fresh corn and crisp apples, to delicious pies and salt potatoes the farmers markets that dot our region are not only an opportunity to eat tasty, local, nutritious food they’re a great way to support New York State’s hardworking farmers too.
Here in Central and Northern New York, there nearly three dozen farmers markets taking place from now through autumn. You can find a full schedule here.
Our region isn’t the only place where farmers markets are increasing in popularity. Across New York State, buying—and eating—locally is catching on. Today, our state has more than 560 farmers markets. That’s almost double the amount our state had 10 years ago!
New York’s 36,000 farm families in nearly every county of the state work to provide fresh, nutritious food for millions of people. As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee it’s a priority for me to help our hardworking farmers succeed, improve their bottom lines and as a result, build a stronger economy and future for all New Yorkers.
My most recent efforts to support farmers include sponsoring legislation to help moderate major increases in agricultural value assessments and joining with members of my Agricultural Advisory Council—which is comprised of industry leaders from throughout Central and Northern New York—to explore energy savings that would benefit the farming community.
You can do your part to support farmers too. It’s as easy as visiting one of the many local farmers markets which offer samplings of the region’s best; from Oswego County onions to Jefferson County cheese, St. Lawrence County wine and so much more. As summer approaches, I encourage you to take the time to shop and eat local in an effort to support our state’s agriculture industry and get healthy at the same time.