Taste NY

The Taste NY market at the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn.

Taste NY, the state's marketing campaign to promote New York-made beverages and food products, set a new sales mark in 2018.

Total gross sales were $17.8 million, up $1.7 million over the record set in 2017. The increase came as the state opened six new Taste NY markets at regional welcome centers.

The Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, which opened in November, has a Taste NY market.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who created the Taste NY initiative in 2013, believes it has provided considerable support to businesses and farms across the state.

"New York is proud to connect consumers across the globe with fresh, locally grown products and we will continue to empower our farmers, growers and producers to expand their businesses while promoting tourism in every corner of this great state," Cuomo said.

Taste NY has a physical presence at other facilities. There are locations that opened last year at renovated transportation hubs, including Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the Taste NY initiative, held networking events featuring farms, beverage and food producers, bars, restaurants and retail outlets. More than 550 buyers and vendors participated in the events, according to a news release.

Taste NY promoted New York-made products at events throughout the year, including the New York State Fair. Taste NY has a marketplace at the fair and sponsors the annual food truck competition.

Taste NY has grown in the six years since its creation. In 2014, its first full year, the initiative reported $1.5 million in gross sales.

By 2017, total sales rose to $16.1 million.

"The economic impact of Taste NY on our local farms, producers and businesses has a multiplier effect that yields more land use, job creation and a strong vibrant economy," said Dr. Chris Watkins, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.