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Area producers thrive, thanks to Nelson Farms

Local processing plant helps entrepreneurs gain exposure, success

Nelson Farms Country Store, located at 3261 Route 20 in Nelson, offers a wide variety of locally-grown and locally-produced goods.

Nelson Farms Country Store, located at 3261 Route 20 in Nelson, offers a wide variety of locally-grown and locally-produced goods.

We’ve all frustratingly attempted to replicate an old family recipe, remarking, “if only there was somewhere that sold that stuff, life would be a lot easier.”

Well, what if there is somewhere that does? Nelson Farms, a few miles east of Cazenovia is a processing plant, partnered with Morrisville State College, which takes local entrepreneurs from that “old family recipe” all the way to the shelves of their own country store, as well as local grocery stores like Price Chopper and ShopRite.

“We are a one-stop shop production facility. We go a step beyond to help people create and produce. We take entrepreneurs from recipe to market,” says Dave Evans, Director of Nelson Farms.

Entrepreneurs range from local farmers who want a few dozen bottles of a salsa or barbecue sauce to small business owners who plan to stock shelves at larger chain stores. The key connection is all of these products are locally grown and/or produced. Nelson Farms is a member of the Pride of New York program which was developed to promote and support the sale of agricultural products grown and/or processed within New York state. The Program’s growing membership now includes farmers and processors, retailers, distributors, restaurants and related culinary and support associations all working together to bring communities wholesome, quality New York State products.

Pat LaPoint, a Blueberry Farmer from Pavilion, N.Y., owns and operates Hill n’ Hollow Farms. She has produced several vinegars, chutneys, a dried blueberry crunch with nuts, and most recently, an Elderberry Chipotle Barbeque Sauce through Nelson Farms. Her experience there was invaluable.

“It’s been wonderful, marvelous, outstanding ― whatever word you’d want to use,” says LaPoint. “They’ve been so helpful, very knowledgeable and their expertise has saved me a lot of mistakes.”

LaPoint says she never knew that bottling her product in a specific way would make such an important difference, but it did. Simple things, like the size of the jar, saved her in the long run. “How fast they can fill a jar or the cooling time, you don’t know that matters in the beginning. If you can’t use the jars, or it takes too long, you’re losing money,” says LaPoint.

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