Local and Darn Delicious New York State Eats

A glimpse into some of New York State's farm-to-table sustainable initiatives.

Working on an organic farm. A man holding a basket of fresh corn on the cob,produce freshly picked.
••• Mint Images - Bill Miles / Getty Images

When one pictures “New York” everyone has a different image come to mind: photo shoots in the streets, five-course dinner menus rivaling the cost of college tuition, iconic skyscrapers like the Empire State and Freedom Tower. But there proves much more to New York than the borough of Manhattan (or the newly-hip Brooklyn for the matter)  And a three-hour train ride on the Metro North ride can transport you to a paradise of mountains, four seasons, and a literal breath of fresh air.

There is a plethora of outdoor activities in New York State throughout winter, spring, summer, or fall—skiing at Willard Mountain in Washington County, free cross-country ski rentals at Rush Pond Way Recreational Trail at Queensbury Parks and Recreation, kayaking on Lake George, and hiking in The Adirondack State Park. After a full day of activity and working up an appetite, what better way to satiate your hunger and quench your thirst than by indulging in local farm-to-table offerings.

An economically sustainable community keeps money and jobs local without the need to outsource. The impact of local brewing in New York State alone is tremendous. According to statistics released by the State of New York, there are currently 207 operating breweries across the state, which results in 554 million wages paid. The state sees $450 million in craft beer tourism a year and $227 million in the brewery’s revenue.

It adds up to an annual addition of about $4 billion to the state’s economy.  

Washington County

It’s no secret that Washington County is absolutely stunning. But these bucolic hillsides and mountains are more than just a pretty backdrop--they are also producing the necessities for sustainable farming.

“Our lives are centered on the land - agriculture is the backbone of our economy and we embrace and celebrate our growers and producers,” explained Christine Hoffer, of Washington Country. “Because of their efforts, Washington County is described by some as the Tuscany of New York with their crops, barns, silos, and animals.Beyond the greens, cows, and corn you will find unspoiled and scenic beauty sure to exceed your expectation with covered bridges, hiking, biking, fishing, local farms, an emerging craft beverage industry and farm to table dining experiences all in our charming towns and villages.”

The Rathbun family is known both in their town of North Granville and in the greater community for four decades of maple syrup production. The processes used by the family dramatically cut down on fuel consumption. The Rathburn farm has hosted Maple Sugaring tutorials to not only showcase the process to visitors but to indulge their taste buds as well. 

Another "must visit" in Washington County is the Argyle Cheese Factory, in the village of  Argyle, NY, about a thirty-minute drive from Saratoga Springs. Owners Dave and Will Randles have over fifty cows, and they pride themselves on using no synthetic hormones.

They grow 100 percent of their forages fed to the cows and produce high-quality yogurts and artisan cheeses on-site.

“After a year of hard work, we began bottling our own, local farm fresh milk. Our first processing day was February 15th, 2008," said Mary of Battenkill Valley Creamery in Salem. "Our milk goes from our cows to our bottles in less than eight hours. We take pride in providing our customers with the freshest milk possible. February 2009 we started producing our Truly Homemade, Super Premium Ice Cream. The following May we opened our ice cream parlor at our Creamery Store.” And it's a not-to-miss treat!

Albany 

Roughly 150 miles north of the Manhattan and sitting on the picturesque Hudson River lies New York's capital, Albany. And there is no shortage of activities for visitors with all sorts of interests--from a tour of the state capitol (Monday to Friday and free for the public) for history buffs to an educational tour of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve for adventure seekers, the itinerary is easy to fill.

And something else that will be full the entire visit? Your stomach--with all of the locally produced and brewed food and beverages!

Nine Pin is a New York craft cider company based in Downtown Albany. As the website states, "The only greater commitment to serving customers off-dry ciders with that desired balanced flared is to the orchards that make it all possible." One hundred percent of the apples are sourced from the local Capital Region and Hudson Valley, where they are pressed and then taken directly to the cidery. Literally, farm to your drinking glass.

Warren County

One of the easiest - and arguably most fun - ways to enjoy The Adirondack Craft Beverage Travel and the beautiful Warren County is by hopping on the Hoppy Trails Brew Bus. This local company began in 2014 with a dedication to showcasing local craft beverage producers at 14 breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Tours include looking at the crafting process, samplings, and plenty of snacks to soak up the suds along the way. Husband and wife, Olivia and Gabe Sutton, loved the idea of networking local craft beverage places in the New York Region for locals and visitors alike.

"We have really tried to keep in local - right down to our partnership with our area chamber of commerce, in conjunction with their Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail," explained Olivia. " We also went with Jesse Tyree at Black Dog Designs for our final logo and website design - which is another local business here in Glens Falls."

"We design tour routes that include three stops. We offer a behind-the-scenes tour, samples of their products, and typically chances to meet with the owners, to learn about the craft & the process behind making their products."

Olivia and Gabe make sure to keep a sustainable-focused mindset while sharing their love of craft beverages.

"I think the best reason to drink NY craft beverage products comes back to that idea that you are helping your neighbors," said Olivia Sutton, co-owner of the business, along with her partner, Gabe. " You're creating this network of individuals, working together to provide a quality product with ingredients made right in your backyard. Collaboration has certainly been the key to starting our business. Just in our area alone in the Adirondacks & Capital Region, it's been fantastic to see the rapid growth of not just craft breweries but the vineyards/wineries, distilleries, and hard cider options. We are offering some of the best craft beverages around, right here in New York State." 

Troy

Troy New York is not only the official home of Uncle Sam and the prestigious Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute. It also has some of the most famed local eats in the state like the Troy Waterfront Farmer's Market. Open every Saturday throughout the year, the market showcases the local products of farmers, bakers, chefs, and artisans. The market prides itself on providing a place for consumers to buy directly from the producer.

Brown’s Brewing Company opened in 1993 as the first brewery restaurant in the region, the owners continually put a conscious effort towards being a sustainable business. The brewery regularly reports to New York State Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and Markets and Department of Environmental Conservation with the quality of our water and wastewater they both use and produce. Like many of New York State's breweries, the public is welcomed to tour and get a more in-depth understand of brewing processes. 

New York State's initiatives to keep work local and produce sustainable products continues to grow and positively influence the state's tourism, local community, and environment.