Northern New York; November 10, 2016. Restaurants and caterers are interested in purchasing local food products from growers in Northern New York, but they require a high quality, consistent supply; timely delivery; and below-retail price points, according to a survey of food buyers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
With funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension personnel interviewed food buyers purchasing locally-sourced foods. The survey was a sampling of the more than 1,800 restaurants, grocers, convenience store operators, and food service and institutional buyers in the six-county Northern New York region.
Major food marketing areas were identified as Canton, Lake Placid, Lowville, Malone, Plattsburgh, and Watertown.
The investigation into food hub development opportunities for Northern New York also included input from 125 farmers and 254 consumers. Nearly 60 percent of the consumers surveyed indicated they purchase local products at least once a month. They define local as food produced in Northern New York or in their home county.
The Opportunities for Food Hub Development in Northern New York Executive Summary identifies cautions, considerations and potential in the areas of food hub aggregation, infrastructure development, marketing, distribution, and food safety education, and organization. The summary is posted in the Local Foods section of this farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-driven research and technical assistance program serving Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
This survey project also received a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and funding from the New York Farm Viability Institute.
What is a Food Hub?
The USDA identifies a regional food hub as “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”