GENEVA — Here’s a toast to a great grape idea.
Nominations are accepted through August 1 for the New York Concord Grape Innovation Award, a business competition designed to spur innovation and the development of new products and markets for one of the state’s largest grape industries.
Funded by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and organized and hosted by Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, the competition will award more than $100,000 in cash prizes and support packages from Cornell experts.
The competition is divided into two categories: Best New Concord Grape Drink and Best New Concord Grape Product.
Prizes, judged by a panel of industry, government and academia leaders, will be awarded to the top three nominees in each category. Submissions will be judged on market readiness, innovative approach, economic impact on the Concord grape industry, potential for expanded use of Concord grapes, and percentage of Concord grapes in the product. The products offered must contain at least 30% Concord grapes.
Here’s what Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, has to say about the Concord grape:
“The Concord grape has an important heritage in New York State and remains a vital part of the state’s agricultural economy,” Filler said. “Finding innovative uses for Concord will ensure it remains a valuable varietal for growers.”
The finalists in each category will participate in a judging symposium on December 9 at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva. In addition to the prize packs, winning products will also be showcased at Taste NY welcome centers and markets across the state.
The idea for the competition grew out of New York State’s 2018 Concord Grape Summit, held at the Grape Discovery Center in Chautauqua County to strengthen the industry, which has suffered from low prices and consumer demand, labor shortages and constantly rising production costs in recent times. years.
According to Cathy Young, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture, Concord grapes make up about 80% of the total tonnage of all grapes grown in the state, with the greatest concentration of production being in the region. of Lake Erie. Statewide, approximately 121,000 tons of Concord grapes are grown annually on some 30,000 acres of vineyards.
The link to apply, along with a full breakdown of guidelines and awards, is available at cals.cornell.edu/concord-grape-award.
Bay, good bay
Latest news from the New York State Berry Growers Association that might explain why strawberry shortcake looks so much better this year.
Strawberries are blooming this year, thanks to a cool, wet start to spring that produced ideal conditions for budding plants, the grower group reports.
Farmers in the state report bumper harvests of fruit, some up to two inches wide, with minimal green tips and a mildly sweet scent.
Although New York State farmers grow a variety of strawberries, June strawberries are the most popular. These produce the largest fruits, which grow for two to three weeks and are usually sweetest by the end of June.
So case is closed when it comes to the Fourth of July picnic desserts. Strawberry shortcake, strawberries and vanilla ice cream or just strawberries.
But blueberries are good too.
Open day for picking A’LaRue Blueberries in Syrup at ACMME Farms in Clifton Springs will be 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 6 at the farm, 927 LaRue Road. After that, the hours will be Mondays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m. to noon; Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon.
The New York State Berry Growers Association is a non-profit educational association for berry growers, from large wholesale family farms to independent farms and small U-pick operations.
Summer camps for children cooks
New York Kitchen in Canandaigua is offering several Junior Chef pop-up camps next week.
Camps are offered daily for teens and children, starting Tuesday, July 5. Teen Cooking Camps are for ages 12-18 only; Kid’s Table camps are reserved for children from 8 to 11 years old.
There are a few openings left at NYK’s Five Day Cooking Camps. For more details, visit https://www.nykitchen.com/.