Albany, NY - June 8, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State Grown & Certified program is expanding to include the New York dairy industry. The state is partnering with Stewart’s Shops to launch the promotional program that distinguishes agricultural products that are local and made by producers who meet safe food handling best practices and demonstrate environmental stewardship. Beginning next month, consumers will be able to find the NYS Certified label on Stewart’s dairy products in more than 300 stores across the State. Stewart’s egg supplier, Thomas Poultry Farm from Schuylerville, is also participating in the program.
"The Grown & Certified program connects consumers with high-quality, farm-fresh New York products, while supporting our hard-working farms, businesses and local economies across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "By partnering with Stewart’s Shops, we will expand this program to promote and provide a boost to some of New York’s best producers and support the dairy industry's continued growth and success."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement in Clifton Park, said, "The addition of the dairy industry to the Grown & Certified program is another milestone in our efforts to promote New York's world-class farm products. Grown & Certified ensures that consumers are getting food produced in a manner that meets the highest safety and environmental standards while giving our producers and farmers new opportunities to grow their businesses. Stewart's Shops is the perfect partner for this expansion in the Capital Region, and I look forward to seeing this program and our agricultural industry continue to flourish."
Stewart’s Shops President Gary Dake said, “At Stewart’s Shops we take pride in providing quality products to our customers, and that includes our fresh, local milk and eggs. Growing up in the dairy business, I know first-hand the hard work it entails. We are proud to now carry the Certified seal and continue to be partnered with family farms that uphold high-quality and environmental standards right here in our own communities.”
Starting in July, Stewart’s will launch new packaging for their half-gallon milk containers, which will prominently feature the New York State Certified label and a description of the program. Signage in-store and at the gas pump, as well as a promotional video, are already in stores, helping to educate consumers about the Certified program and what it means to them. Many varieties of Stewart's milk, half and half, heavy cream, and ice cream will all carry the Certified seal.
Stewart’s Shops, a longstanding and well-respected dairy processor, adheres to the New York State Grown & Certified food safety and environmental management plan requirements. The company has stores in the Capital Region, North Country, Hudson Valley, and Central New York regions. They proudly source all of their milk from local farms in Saratoga, Rensselaer, and Washington Counties.
In addition to Stewart’s dairy products, its eggs will feature the NYS Grown & Certified seal, highlighting Thomas Poultry Farm. The farm adheres to environmentally responsible practices and exceeds federal egg safety standards.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Stewart’s is a natural fit for New York State Grown & Certified with its reputation for quality products and community connections, which are two of the guiding principles of the program. Not only does Stewart’s milk come from responsible and sustainable, local farms, but Stewart’s also takes extra care at the processing plant. When consumers pick up Stewart’s milk, eggs, and even ice cream, they can feel good knowing they are truly getting some of the best products for their families.”
Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said, “Farming and the production of agriculture products continue to be a driving force of the economy in Saratoga County and Clifton Park. Meaningful programs such as New York State Grown and Certified along with partnerships between New York State, the business community and local municipalities will support our farms and enhance business opportunities. Clifton Park is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo, New York Ag and Markets and Stewart’s for the launch of the New York State Grown and Certified Program.”
Ed Kinowski, Chairman for the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, said, "One of Saratoga County’s leading industry is Agriculture and we promote the growth and restoration of farms throughout our County. Over the past several years we have protected 4,209 acres of farm land and open space and invested over $4.7 million if direct funding. Additionally our county delivers over $34 million is direct sales of agricultural products. Our county embraces this Grown & Certified program and congratulates the Stewarts Corporation and Thomas Poultry Farm for their participation."
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen said, "It is because of initiatives like this that we can be a strong, sustainable community. Buying and growing local supports our motto in Saratoga Springs: health, history and horses."
Chris Koval, Owner of Koval Brothers Dairy, said, “Our family farm has sold milk to Stewart’s for most of my life, and it’s something we’re very proud of. This new seal promotes what we have been doing all along; working with clean, healthy animals and providing fresh, local, high-quality milk for Stewart’s customers.”
Jennifer Thomas, owner of Thomas Poultry Farm, said, “Our farm has had a strong relationship with Stewart’s for several decades, ensuring that their customers get fresh, local eggs from a family-run farm. Now we are proud to say our eggs are New York State Certified, meaning we provide local, high-quality eggs, while also being good stewards of the land that we use to grow corn for our hens.”
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “Our Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the State are helping farms everyday work toward implementing best management plans and best practices that have a real impact on addressing the effects of climate change and the soil and water quality of our land. I’m pleased that Stewart’s has joined the NYS Certified program, which will elevate the promotion of the State’s dairy farms and their efforts to be excellent stewards of the environment.”
About New York State Grown & Certified
Launched by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, New York State Grown & Certified promotes New York’s agricultural producers. It assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced to a higher standard by requiring participating producers to adopt good agricultural practices and enroll in the Agricultural Environmental Management program.
New York State Grown & Certified’s marketing campaign includes on-product labels and promotional materials, such as a website, video and sales materials, to encourage program participation among producers and to educate retail, wholesale and institutional buyers on the value of the program.
There are currently 54 fruit and vegetable producers representing 34,204 acres of farmland in the State participating in the New York State Grown & Certified program.
About Stewart’s Shops
Stewart’s Shops is an employee and family-owned convenience store chain with over 330 shops across upstate New York and southern Vermont. Milk and eggs are collected daily from farms near their plant, and that milk is also used to make their dozens of delicious ice cream flavors. Stewart’s Shops also known for coffee, Easy Food, grocery, gasoline and other convenience items. Stewart’s Shops gives back to its communities, donating approximately $2.5 million annually, with Dake family foundations giving an equivalent amount.