New York Farm Day is a tradition on Capitol Hill, a way for New York’s agricultural community to introduce its products to the legislative community. This year’s Farm Day, Sept. 14 in the Russell Senate Building, served up everything from yogurt to chocolate, duck to whiskey, clams to wine ice cream.
Cornell’s Big Red Cheddar was served at the Cornell table hosted by Carl Moody of the Cornell Cooperative Extension-Harvest New York team and Melanie Cordova from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) communications team.
Tasting the cheese were Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Moore and Cardova conducted a cheese-making demonstration that attracted 400 Hill staffers to the Cornell table.
“People are often surprised,” said Michele Ledoux, executive director of Lewis County Cooperative Extension. “They don’t realize what a variety of products we have in New York.”
Ledoux, who has attended 15 New York Farm Days, said the event is an important link between the New York agricultural community and Washington lawmakers.
“It’s a great opportunity to speak to senators, congresspeople and members of the military about New York products,” she said. While Ledoux was in D.C. she met with lawmakers and their staffs and sat in on an agricultural Advisory Committee meeting in Gillibrand’s office.
Gillibrand hosted the event. “It’s an important opportunity for New York’s agricultural community to have their voices heard about the issues that affect them,” Gillibrand said.
New York Farm Day was previously hosted by then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, who watched attendees pouring wine on their ice cream and saw a business opportunity. She approached the Mercers ice cream table and suggested they make wine ice cream. Mercers took her suggestion, and in 2005 Mercers Wine ice cream was born. Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, helped with the formulation of the ice cream, now sold in 15 countries.
“New York Farm Day is a tremendous opportunity for the college and Empire State food producers to showcase their excellence in our nation's capital,” Boor said. “I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her continuing support of this event, New York farmers and the state’s food entrepreneurs.”
Kathleen Corcoran is Cornell’s media relations specialist in Washington, D.C.