A state program designed to promote food and beverages made in New York State increased its sales of those items by nearly three times last year compared with 2015, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday.
The Taste NY initiative generated sales of $13.1 million in food and drink purchases during 2016, up from $4.5 million a year earlier.
Taste NY, started in 2013, rang up sales of $520,486 on Long Island last year, according to a spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program. She said most of the local Taste NY locations opened last year.
Among the local businesses with products sold through the program are Backyard Brine pickles in Cutchogue, Blue Point Brewing Co. in Patchogue, Lakewood Bakery in Farmingdale, North Fork Potato Chips in Cutchogue, Satur Farms vegetables in Cutchogue and Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton.
Taste NY sells food and beverages in stores, cafes and bars.
There are more than 60 locations across the state, including at MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, Jones Beach State Park and the recently opened Long Island Expressway rest stop in Dix Hills.
The rest stop store has been criticized by Federal Highway Administration officials, who said in December that over-the-counter sales are illegal. State officials countered that the sales are allowable, saying they promote tourism.
Tiffany Portzer, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Monday that an “active dialogue” with federal officials was ongoing. “We are looking forward to resolving any outstanding issues in the near future,” she said.
Taste NY also had temporary booths at major events such as the 2016 Barclays golf tournament at Bethpage State Park. The golf event spanned four days.
Cuomo, in his 2017-18 proposed state budget, is seeking permission from the State Legislature to expand Taste NY alcohol sales to movie theaters. He also wants to offer grants to craft beverage producers for advertising and to enter competitions. The movie theater proposal has drawn criticism from some state lawmakers.
Richard A. Ball, state agriculture commissioner, said Monday that Taste NY has led food and beverage companies to expand their operations and add jobs in the state.
David Fisher, president of the state Farm Bureau, said, “Taste NY is a visible way to showcase the rich diversity of agriculture in this state and to encourage people to try food and beverages that originated on the farm.”
The location of Backyard Brine of Cutchogue was incorrect in an earlier online version due to erroneous information in a New York State document.