by Miranda Palmer
“Ice cream brings people together,” said businessman and Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey. When you’re showcasing agriculture in Tioga County, New York what better way to celebrate and teach residents than over this delectable, frosty dairy treat.
For the last 11 years, The Tioga County Agriculture Resource Group (ARG) has been holding “Sundaes at the Farm” with the goal of educating both rural and urban landowners in the county by giving them an opportunity to spend a few hours on a working dairy farm. This free celebration of local agriculture brings the public to a different farm every year where they can enjoy locally grown foods and other products while experiencing the farm firsthand.
This year’s event was held at the Mead Dairy Farm in South Owego. The Mead family along with local agencies and businesses hosted the gala that drew in over 750 visitors with 675 free ice cream sundaes served. Guests had a choice of a blue berry sauce (berries donated from Gary’s Berries), strawberry sauce (berries donated from Terry’s Berry Farm), chocolate syrup made by Confection Connection and maple syrup made by Cupola Ridge Farm, in addition to a variety of yummy toppings.
Family-friendly activities included: The Tioga County Dairy Princess and New York State Dairy Princess helping to dish out ice cream sundaes and serve other dairy treats; the Tioga County Dairy Ambassadors speaking about the benefits of local dairy and served milk punch; a vendors’ market with various local foods and products for purchase; learning stations around the farm to educate the entire family on farm operations; farm equipment displays; face painting; a chicken BBQ; live music by Mountain Top Ramblers and for the younger attendees, a scavenger hunt.
Sundaes at the Farm is a great opportunity for not only the immediate community, but also the surrounding communities, to come out and tour a local dairy farm and learn about agriculture. The Tioga County Ag Resource Group received many positive comments from participants. Events like this with a family-friendly atmosphere are vital to create awareness of, and appreciation for, the agricultural industry in Tioga County. “You recognize it’s really important to get those who aren’t farmers out on to farms and have them understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and the purpose of it. They’re producing milk and all sorts of other products that help our economy and the county,” said Wendy Walsh, District Manager for Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District.
There were also many dairy donations on hand including milk from Byrne Dairy, a variety of yogurts from Chobani, delicious mini cheese bricks from Cabot Cheese, and ice cream from Wegmans. Other sponsors of the event included Dairy Farmers of America, Home Central, Tioga County Farm Bureau, Tioga Downs, Tioga State Banks, and Ward and VanScoy.
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