Farmers from Orange and Ulster counties, along with public officials and leaders in Cornell Cooperative
Extension discussed agricultural issues with Sen. Schumer
MIDDLETOWN – Top officials of natural food producer Amy’s Kitchen met Wednesday in Middletown with local farmers and government officials to discuss how the farmers could provide their crops for the company’s massive Goshen facility, which will be under construction in the months ahead.
Senator Charles Schumer brought everyone together as federal lawmakers discuss what to include in the farm bill which is being prepared for next year.
Two main focuses emerged from the one-hour session, those being the emerging organic produce market and immigrant farm workers.
Schumer said Amy’s Kitchen will open new opportunities for regional farmers.
“It’s a whole new market for our organic farmers so we have to do everything to strengthen that industry, which I have worked on in the Senate,” he said.
Amy’s Kitchen CEO Andy Berliner had a thought on how to deliver dairy products to his facility more quickly.
“I had this idea of we could somehow form a processing facility for IQF (individually quick-frozen food processing) within the area,” Berliner said, noting they are doing business in India getting milk from small family farms with one or two cows. It is all pooled together and brought to a depot. “It’s one crazy idea I had and I didn’t know how the government to help with that, to have a local processing facility for things that you wouldn’t want to fresh market.”
Amy’s currently spends $115 million annually on products to manufacture their foot dishes.
When the Goshen facility opens, it will initially employ some 700 people in the $95 million, 369,000-square foot facility.