There’s a new Taste NY storefront inside the plaza. You might not know it, because there is no signage to announce its presence as you approach the Chittenango Travel Plaza (a k a rest area), between Exits 34 and 34A, driving west on I-90 towards Syracuse.
The Taste NY program was launched by Gov. Cuomo to spotlight the state’s food industry, grow the marketplace and promote tourism. The display is towards the rear of the plaza, next to Sbarro and occupying part of the gift shop.
A news release from the governor’s office said travelers would find local/regional cheeses and yogurts, but those weren’t available when I visited – maybe they were sold out after a busy weekend.
You CAN get a bottle of all-natural, 100 percent fruit juice from Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, to go with your Starbucks or slice from Sbarro. I also spotted maple syrup and maple candy from Merle Maple, Attica, and other producers; local honey; Erie Canal jams and jellies (Nelson Farms); Roadkill Slather Sauce (made at Morrisville State College); Joe’s Jerky (Sherrill); and Kozy Shack rice pudding (Hicksville).
Four more Taste NY storefronts are at the Seneca and Scottsville travel plazas (near Rochester) and Clarence and Pembroke plazas, near Buffalo. Other stores have opened at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, McArthur Airport in Islip and at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.
The stores are merely an introduction to the array of food products made in New York. For a more extensive selection near Syracuse, venture off the Thruway and visit to the Nelson Farms Country Store in Nelson (Madison County).
Nelson Farms, a partnership with Morrisville State College, is an agri-business incubator designed to help specialty food producers, farmers and growers get their products in the marketplace.
The Country Store features candy, coffee and snacks; meats and cheeses; dressings, sauces, mustards and marinades; pancake mixes; and more. The store is open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.