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Area Farmers Showcase Homegrown Products in Push to Buy Local

There are a lot of things we all know and love about the Mohawk Valley and Central New York. Ask enough people and the one thing you will hear over and over is that we have great food here. Now, some of the best-of-the-best locally produced foods may end up on more and more local tables.
There are a lot of things we all know and love about the Mohawk Valley and Central New York. Ask enough people and the one thing you will hear over and over is that we have great food here. Now, some of the best-of-the-best locally produced foods may end up on more and more local tables.
Farmers from over 15 local farms set up shop Monday night at Piggy Pat’s BBQ, bringing their home-grown meat, cheese, milk, even maple syrup. All in an effort sell their products to huge area buyers like local colleges, hospitals, super markets and even Turning Stone Casino.
"If you're buying from the guy down the road you're eliminating a lot of the middle people," says owner of Piggy Pat’s BBQ Pat McCann.
And that's exactly what McCann has been trying to do in his restaurant. He has made an effort to buy local and now wants other area businesses to follow suit.
"Even if they buy a portion locally, it will be a step in the right direction, so it's like, I found out how much healthier local food can be so I almost feel morally obligated to try and serve as much of it as I can,” says McCann.
Area farmers say they're happy to help serve and in this case, network.
"When you're small, just trying to get your name out, I’m excited to meet people and this is definitely the best way to try and grow your business,” said Tom Felio.
Felio is a cheese maker at Three Village Cheese in Newport. He says the food show is the perfect way to meet big prospective customers.
"A lot of these people that are going to be coming to see all these different vendors are people that I’ve been hoping to get in contact with for a while; Turning Stone is definitely a place that we've thought about as a good place for our cheese,” says Felio.
Local farmers say the open house gives them the opportunity to explain why their homegrown products are better than the rest.
"We dry age our beef for 21 days, in saying that, most don’t' dry age that long, we also raise pure-breads," says Stephanie Lipsey of Drover Hill Farm.
"We grow tomatoes in the green house; we grow everything hydro-phonically so we grow either in water or in coconut fiber which is a medium that holds just the roots of the plants that we grow,” said Denise Szarek, Owner of Szarek Farms.
Every farmer came with their own unique product but with the same message: buy local.
"It’s real important, it helps the economy in this area and it's all natural food," says Gordon Tibbitts, Owner of Tibbitts Maple.
The owner of Piggy Pat's says if Monday night's even is a success, he hopes to have more open houses in the future and invite the public.

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