Governor Cuomo Encourages New Yorkers to Buy Local Trees This Holiday Season to Promote Agricultural and Tourism Industries
Albany, N.Y. (November 25, 2019) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State Grown & Certified Christmas trees and wreaths will be on display in the State's regional Welcome Centers and Taste NY stores, promoting New York's agricultural and tourism industries. In addition, New York State Grown & Certified trees will be on display at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. New York's Christmas tree industry sells nearly 300,000 trees from more than 750 tree farms located across the State.
"As New Yorkers prepare to celebrate the holidays, we encourage shoppers looking for the perfect tree to support our neighboring farmers by choosing to buy locally-grown trees this year," Governor Cuomo said. "New York State is home to more than 750 Christmas tree farms, including many that participate in our NYS Grown & Certified program, telling buyers the products they are selecting come from farmers who grow their products in an environmentally-responsible manner."
To promote the purchase of New York-grown trees and kick off the holiday season, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball joined partners from the agricultural community at Boulder Brook Farm in Saratoga County for the State's annual tree cutting.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Our annual tree-cutting ceremony is a great way to kick off the holiday season and remind New Yorkers of the high-quality, home-grown products they can purchase while celebrating the holidays and supporting our State's top-notch and diverse agricultural industry."
A 6-foot-tall, Canaan Fir provided by the Malta farm will be prominently displayed for the holidays at the Adirondacks Welcome Center in Queensbury. Boulder Brook Farm is a proud member of the New York State Grown & Certified program. A second Canaan Fir, donated by the farm, will go to a local homeless shelter run by CAPTAIN Community Human Services.
New York State Grown & Certified promotes New York's agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. For Christmas tree farms, participants are certified for growing local trees and for participating in the State Soil and Water Conservation District's Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) plan.
Local trees and handmade local wreaths, as well as information on where to find local trees, will also be on display at the following Taste NY locations:
· Western New York Welcome Center
· Southern Tier Welcome Center
· Finger Lakes Welcome Center
· Central New York Welcome Center
· Mohawk Valley Welcome Center
· Capital Region Welcome Center
· North Country Welcome Center
· Adirondacks Welcome Center
· Hudson Valley/Catskills Welcome Center
· Long Island Welcome Center
· New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center
· Taste NY Market at Todd Hill
The Welcome Center and Taste NY locations will also feature a wide variety of gifts and gift baskets filled with local products made and produced by New York farms and food and beverage producers.
Upstate Trees on Display at Albany and New York City Events
Four beautiful 10-foot-tall New York State Grown & Certified Frasier Fir trees from Zema's Nursery in Stephentown, Rensselaer County are also on display at the Empire State Plaza Concourse in Albany. The New York State Holiday Tree lighting and fireworks will be held Sunday, December 8 at the Empire State Plaza. This free family fun event includes festive music, horse and carriage rides on the Plaza along with Santa and lots of kids activities. The Taste NY Holiday Market begins at 11 a.m. in the New York State Museum. Figure skating demonstrations and free skating will be available at the Plaza ice rink, weather permitting.
In addition to the local trees on display at the Welcome Centers and at the Empire State Plaza Concourse, a 26-foot-tall Douglas Fir, from the Hardwick Tree Farm, of Mahopac, in Putnam County, will shine brightly at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building Plaza in Harlem during an annual holiday celebration on Thursday, December 12. The event will feature live family-friendly entertainment, including music, and a visit from Santa.
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "Additional trees, donated by the Keitel-Shawn family in Albany and the Button family in Sharon Springs, will be displayed in East Capitol Park and the Empire State Plaza. It just wouldn't feel like the holiday season without beautifully decorated New York State trees on display at the Empire State Plaza in Albany and at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building in Harlem. I join Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball in encouraging our friends and neighbors throughout New York to help strengthen our agricultural community by purchasing their trees from local growers."
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Displaying locally grown Christmas trees at Welcome Centers this holiday season is a great way to promote the state's tree farms and all the goods and activities they have to offer. We are proud to partner with the Taste NY program, offering motorists a break at our Welcome Centers and rest areas while showcasing a host of high-quality products made in New York."
Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "New York's Welcome Centers, including the three located along the NYS Thruway, are tourism gateways that showcase the diverse food, beverage, and hand-made good selections found across the Empire State. We are proud to support the state's agricultural and tourism industries which generate billions of dollars each year. I encourage all travelers to stop and visit these magnificent displays this holiday season where you can conveniently pick up specialized gifts that help support local economies."
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Buying a New York State Grown & Certified tree or wreath this holiday season supports the state's farms and small businesses, and our Welcome Centers are the perfect backdrop for showcasing these seasonal standouts for residents and visitors alike."
Senator Jen Metzger said, "New York ranks fourth in the country for the number of Christmas tree farms, and as the holiday season approaches, it's important that we encourage our communities to take advantage of the incredible bounty of New York-grown farm products that our local growers and vendors make available. A welcome boost to our farmers, I'm so pleased to see the sale of New York-grown trees and wreaths being promoted in this way."
Senator Daphne Jordan said, "The fun, thrill, and adventure of going out for a fresh Christmas Tree reflect the spirit of the holidays. The smell of fresh pine, the crunch of the snow, the crisp air, finding just the right one; nothing beats getting a fresh cut Christmas Tree purchased from a local farm. New York's Christmas Tree Industry is a vital part of our economy and our heritage, especially here in Upstate - and continuing to support and grow this industry should be a bi-partisan priority. This Christmas season, I encourage families to make lifelong memories by going out and getting a fresh cut tree from one our region's local Christmas Tree Farms."
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "The holiday season is all about tradition, and finding the perfect real Christmas tree is a highlight for many families throughout the state. Choosing a New York-grown tree supports small farm businesses in your community and the ability to recycle them is more environmentally responsible than artificial trees that wind up in the landfill."
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner said, "I would like to thank Commissioner Ball and the Brooks family for hosting us at Boulder Brook Farm for this year's Christmas tree-cutting ceremony. Boulder Brook Farm is located on one of the area's beautiful historic homesteads and offers its visitors a truly memorable experience. I would like to thank the Brooks family for their generosity in donating two trees today. One of the trees was donated to Captain Community Human Services for their Runaway and Homeless Youth Center, where it is sure to bring some comfort and joy to teens who are on their own for the holidays; the other will be displayed for visitors to our region at the Adirondacks Welcome Center near exit 18 on the Northway. I am proud to see yet another family farm open in the 113th Assembly District and wish everyone a very happy holiday season."
Assemblymember Dan Stec said, "Supporting our local businesses and buying a tree from a certified NY grower is a great way to kick off the holiday season. For generations, our local tree farmers have been helping families create traditions that last a lifetime. We are very fortunate in New York State to be the home to so many tree farmers who take such pride in producing a great product while making significant contributions to our local economies."
Christmas Tree Farmers Association of NY Executive Director Mary Jeanne Packer said, "The Christmas Tree Farmers Association and its 300+ members are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase fresh real trees grown on family farms. We appreciate the Commissioner joining us for the cutting event and look forward to seeing the tree installed in the Taste NY Welcome Center where it will remind consumers to Go Green and Get Real this season!"
Adirondacks Welcome Center Taste NY Market Manager Jennifer Kraft said, "It is very exciting that we will be supporting local farmers with our beautiful NYS Grown & Certified tree this holiday season at the Adirondacks Welcome Center. Visitors will also find many farm fresh products in the Taste NY vending market this December including eggnog made in Schuylerville, hot chocolate cheesecake from Porter Corners, goat milk maple sea salt caramels from Au Sable Forks, and artisan chocolate crafted in North Creek."
Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Mintzer said, "For every $1 spent at small businesses, 67 cents stays in the community, according to an estimate in the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study. As a Chamber of Commerce, we strive to raise the profile of regional businesses in an effort to keep our dollars circulating locally. We feel it's important to spread the word about what can be bought locally to help support businesses and employers in the area. This is another example of how the Adirondacks Welcome Center is helping forge partnerships and collaborations that benefit local producers and in turn the local economy. We're thrilled to feature a locally-grown and cut Christmas tree as we kick off the holiday season."
Boulder Brook Farm owner and Christmas Tree Farmers Association of NY President-Elect Peter Brooks said, "I'd like to thank Commissioner Ball for coming to the farm and reminding everyone that the best way to bring the spirit of the holidays into your home is with a Real Tree. A Real Tree takes carbon out of the atmosphere, and it helps local farmers make a living. There's tremendous growth potential for this type of agriculture in New York, and we look forward to all the environmental and economic benefits that will come along with it."
CAPTAIN Community Human Services Associate Executive Director Andy Gilpin said, "On behalf of CAPTAIN Community Human Services, we're very honored to be a recipient of the ceremonial tree from Boulder Brook Farm and just want to thank Peter and the Christmas Growers for this wonderful opportunity. The tree will be proudly displayed at our runaway and homeless youth shelter during the holiday season. It will bring a lot of smiles to the faces of the youth we'll serve."
With approximately 300,000 New York-grown trees sold by more than 750 farms in Upstate New York, the State ranks sixth in the U.S. for the number of acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees. The industry supports an economic impact of $13.8 million in New York State, according to the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York.