A revolution is taking place here in America. A culinary revolution! And it’s all about going to the source: for apples and cheese, bread, beer, wine, even chocolate, and New York is leading the way.
Maybe it’s because of the recognition factor of travel television programs like “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, or “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern. Or maybe some of you are inspired to be more creative in your dining options by the makeovers on TV shows like “Bar Rescue” and “Restaurant: Impossible.” Food-related travel must be popular, seeing as more and more culinary-based shows are popping up all over, even on CNN.
Perhaps it’s merely due to the evolving nature of leisure travelers. The World Food Travel Association, a leading authority on culinary travel, finds that 39 million leisure travelers are “deliberate” culinary travelers with an additional 35 million who are “opportunistic”.1 You all like to eat, and eat well, while you’re vacationing. Combine that with the most recent statistics indicating that 42.5 million Americans spent 534.9 million nights camping in 20112, and an idea starts to emerge that there may be a large crossover between people who like to camp and people who need to eat (okay, that’s kind of a no-brainer…we all need to camp of course!).
Now more than ever, foods and beverages – and the demand for quality and uniqueness - are being embraced as major cornerstones in local and regional tourism promotions across New York State. And there’s a lot of flavor out there to savor! While you’re camping in New York, make your outdoor adventure even tastier with some of the culinary travel ideas we touch on in our 2014 New York State Campground & RV Park Guide, which you can order free on this website. In each camping and vacation region highlighted in the directory, read culinary stories and tips from “the locals,” including recommendations for local dining and tasting, markets, events and online resources.
But first, let’s “Taste NY”
Recently, with encouragement and support from New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York began encouraging visitors and residents alike to “Taste NY.” The “Taste NY” initiative brands New York products at special events, tourism destinations and stores throughout the state, making these products more readily available and recognizable to New York residents and tourists.
“Taste NY” encompasses direct purchases of key New York State agricultural products such as maple products and wines. Consumers will be able to identify locations throughout the state to make purchases from various agribusinesses such as farmers’ markets and wineries. The “Taste NY” website, located at www.taste.ny.gov, not only allows individuals to make purchases, but helps consumers locate farmers’ markets, local breweries and distilleries, food and beverage trails, and special events.
In your travels, stock your cooler by looking for “Taste NY” stores and kiosks located at Thruway rest stops, airports and other transportation hubs.
So what else is cooking in gastronomic exploration around New York State?
Pride of NY: Did you know that New York ranks first in the nation in cream cheese and cottage cheese production and is also home to the largest cream cheese factory in the US? And, the Greek yogurt you love was most likely produced here (our yogurt manufacturers produced 692 million pounds of yogurt in 2012 – almost 10 percent of the state’s total milk production!). New York has become the center of a wide variety of gourmet and other foods grown or manufactured in NY. From bagels to condiments to fudge and salsa, NY producers large and small are packaging an amazing array of goods. “Taste NY” promotes these foods domestically and internationally. Some of these goods carry the “Pride of NY” logo – look for them on the shelves when you’re stocking up the RV larder. More NY flavor: Pride of New York www.prideofny.com, New York State Maple
Producers Association www.nysmaple.com
An Apple a Day: New York State produces more commercial varieties of apples than any other region of the country and is the second largest apple producing state in the United States. Our state has a long history in apple farming and especially in cider production. From state of the art high volume facilities to your local farm markets you can be sure that cider produced in our state is made with “fresh from the farm pride”. Today, thanks to modern technology, good sweet cider is available in food stores and farm markets everywhere year round. Your well-rounded Autumn camping trip should include an apple picking adventure, complete with a cup of hot cider (and maybe a fresh made donut, too!). More NY flavor:
New York Apple Association www.nyapplecountry.com and www.nycider.com
Locally Grown, Locally Sourced: You may have heard the catchphrase “Farm-to-table.” Wikipedia.org notes that farm-to-table in part refers to a movement concerned with producing food locally and delivering that food to local consumers. Linked to the local food movement, the movement is promoted by some in the agriculture, food service, and restaurant communities. It may also be associated with organic farming initiatives, sustainable agriculture, and community-supported agriculture. Well, why not tweak that concept and instead think “Farm-to-picnic-table” for fresh, healthy camping meals? There is nothing in the world quite like the diverse selection of New York fruits and vegetables for all seasons and our farmers markets – some seasonally, some year round - are in operation all across the state. More NY flavor: Farmers’ Market Federation of NYS www.nyfarmersmarket.com
Raise a Glass: New York was once known as the “hops capital of the world,” and is again home to a growing beer industry. In fact, there are over 100 unique craft breweries throughout the state, and New York was recently ranked 8th among the top craft brew states in the nation by USA Today. The resurgence of the microbrewery industry is boosting local economies and creating jobs, as well as providing a new niche within our state’s agricultural sector. Hops and barley acreage are increasing as brewers are looking more and more at local agriculture to help them craft their products. How about a growler of micro-brewed ale to enjoy around the campfire? More NY flavor: NYS Brewers Association www.thinknydrinkny.com.
The New York wine industry has grown strong since 1985, and the trend continues today, with well over 300 licensed wine producers throughout the State. In addition, the creation of new wineries has really spread around the state: 50 of our 62 counties now have wineries. We have wine regions, beautiful trails and world class award-winning wines. More than 180 million bottles of wine are produced in New York State each year. Whether you prefer a Riesling or merlot, sparkling white or ice wine, or a glass of honey meade, there’s likely a glass of something wonderful bottled right here in New York for you to pair with your toasted marshmallow. More NY flavor: Uncork New York www.newyorkwines.org, New York Wine & Culinary Center www.nywcc.com
New York has the second highest number of distilleries in the US; distilleries operate in every corner of the state. In fact, we have the highest concentration of distilleries of any state east of the Mississippi. Using raw grains and fruits, our distillers make vodkas and bourbons, whiskeys and brandies and more. We even have home grown bitters, flavoring syrups and mixers to finish your perfect cocktail to sip once you’ve set up camp. More NY flavor: New York State Distillers Guild www.facebook.com/NYSDG
The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY, held annually in late August, is a premier showcase for “Taste NY” events and “Pride of NY” products. Celebrating New York’s agricultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit, the Great New York State Fair invites you to step into the “Taste NY” tent and “Pride of NY” pavilion to sample and buy products grown or made right here in New York. New York vintners host their own tent on the grounds for sipping and buying wines. Buy your NY maple products in the Horticulture Building. Drink ice cold milk for a quarter in the dairy building. And of course, indulge in classic fair foods. More NY flavor: The Great New York State Fair www.nysfair.org
New York is bursting with flavor and excitement about its evolving culinary scene, and we can’t possibly tell you everything about it all in our camping directory (although we've got quite a bit in there - check it out!). But visit the web addresses provided here, and get even more ideas on how and where to eat and drink your way around New York by visiting the “I Love New York” travel website at www.iloveny.com and selecting “What to Do” for more information. Then...
CAMP NEW YORK. TASTE NEW YORK.
12013 American Culinary Travel Research Report, World Food Travel Association, www.worldfoodtravel.org
2 2012 American Camper Report, A partnership project of The Outdoor Foundation®, The Coleman Company®, and Kampgrounds of America, Inc. ®, www.outdoorfoundation.org
Resource information for this blog derived in part from www.taste.ny.gov, and from press releases issued by the Office of the Governor and “I Love New York.”