June Festival Offers Ag Education Opportunities


Now more than ever children need to be educated about agriculture.  Mainly due to the fact that if they aren’t taught about it, they may never understand it or be able to experience it.  Most kids are three to four generations separated from farming, which makes having hands on experience and knowledge of the food system much harder to grasp.  The message that food originates from farms and doesn’t magically appear on the grocery store shelves is becoming more crucial to relay to our future consumers.  A few examples of efforts being made locally to help increase agriculture and food awareness include farm tours, Agriculture Literacy week, and participating in community events, such as career fairs and festivals. 

    An upcoming event is the 2018 Dairyland Festival and Parade.  This is an annual event held in June, because June is dairy month! So, you may be wondering why we dedicate a whole day to dairy.  New York is the third highest milk producing state, only preceded by California and Wisconsin.  There are over 160 dairy farms in Jefferson County, alone as well as several dairy processing plants.  Dairy farming is evidently a staple of north country agriculture and the economy. Many have tried to imitate this natural product with different substitutes, but none have come close to wholesome, nutrient-packed milk.  Cow’s milk has nine essential nutrients and according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference on the American Dairy Association website, they are called essential for a reason.  These nutrients are potassium, protein, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A.  In just one eight-ounce glass of milk, regardless of flavor, there is as much potassium as one banana, as much protein as 1 ½ medium eggs, as much riboflavin as 1/3 cup of almonds, 20 cherry tomatoes worth of Niacin, the same amount of calcium as 10 cups of raw spinach, one cup of kidney beans worth of Phosphorus, as much Vitamin B-12 as 4 ounces of cooked turkey, ¾ ounce of cooked salmon worth of vitamin D, and as much Vitamin A as ¾ cup of broccoli.  Thus milk is one of the most affordable, nutrient-dense sources of nutrition.  Chocolate milk has even been proven to be one of the best recovery beverages an athlete could ask for.

     This year’s Dairyland event will be held at the Dulles State Office Building on Friday, June 1st.  This is also World Milk Day, thus the theme “As the World Churns: Celebrating World Milk Day.”  From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the doors are open to elementary school students, teachers, parents, and the public to go through and learn from farmers, agencies, and organizations involved in agriculture in Jefferson County.  Visitors will get to sample different dairy products, participate in games/activities, and get hands-on with animals, plants, and food!  A few examples include the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s infamous wooden milking cow, making cheese curd and butter, garden in a glove, Dairy princess and her court, and a Critter Corner full of animals to visit.  Since the theme of this April’s magazine is motorsports, I’ll mention that there will be equipment and farm safety demonstrations at Dairyland Festival as well!  Tractors, ATVs, skid steers, and trucks are vital for efficient operation of most modern dairy farms.

    The fun continues later that evening at the Dairyland Parade.  Downbeat Percussion, the official drumline of the Buffalo Bills, will kick things off with a performance starting at 6 p.m. in the Dulles State Office Building courtyard.  The “As the World Churns: Celebrating World Milk Day” Parade will start its route at 7 p.m. from Watertown High School to the State Office Building.  If you are into motors, this parade is for you! Farm equipment of all shapes, sizes, and colors will be comingled among the floats and marching bands. (to join the parade, visit http://www.comefarmwithus.com/dairyland-festival-and-parade/ ). Afterword, the Jefferson County Dairy Princess Court will be serving a free giant ice cream sundae to participants and attendees.

If you are interested in reading more about dairy products, check out: 




If you are interested in EXPERIENCING more…. see you at the Dairyland Festival and Parade, June 1, 2018!

alyssa couse is an agricultural outreach educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. Born and raised in the north country, she feels at home working with Jefferson County residents, both two-legged and four-legged. Contact her at amc557@cornell.edu.

Chamber Gears up for 2017 Farmers Market

Kylie Peck

Mark your calendar on May 24 as the Greater Watertown Farm & Craft Market prepares for its 40th consecutive year. As we are busy securing vendors for this year’s market, it is important to recognize the history and benefits surrounding this annual event.

    Farmer’s markets have been a part of the national landscape since the mid-1700s and have since become woven into our culture, increasing in number and popularity. Year after year these markets continue to be a welcomed event, encouraging healthy shopping selections, social opportunities and increased business visibility.

    A farmer’s market acts as a source of fresh, nutritious foods from local producers. With farm- fresh options, the farmers are adept at providing an abundance of items at reasonable pricing to local consumers. Partnering with nutrition programs can increase the health and wellness of these area residents by offering the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Farmers Market Wireless EBT Program and Nutrition Education, resulting in fresh options available to everyone.

    There is a growing trend among consumers to support local farmers and local economies. A farmer’s market is a perfect venue for this trend. Bringing these options to the center of our downtown creates a direct connection with the growers of the foods and creates the opportunity for consumers to ask questions, learn about how their food is produced and get to know the people who are providing the food they feed their families. This centers conversation on healthy cooking options and interest in fresh foods.

    Each week the Farm & Craft Market draws thousands of local shoppers and community members to downtown Watertown with a broad mix of diverse cultural backgrounds, a variety of ages and all levels of economic scale.  Throughout the season, local organizations use the market as a venue to educate the public about their mission, publicize their services and highlight opportunities to become involved.

    Hosting a farmers market also helps build the local economy. Not only does this provide an opportunity for farmers, crafters and food vendors to highlight their offerings and skills, it is also a benefit for local businesses. Customers spill into the surrounding area, bringing foot traffic and sales to downtown shops and eateries. Business owners are encouraged to create incentives to draw customers in to generate commerce in the local community.

    Creating an atmosphere with local entertainment, educational opportunities and local food and product sources transforms our downtown into a vibrant public space, which nurtures the sense of community among residents and visitors alike. Adding local shops to the mix creates the ideal opportunity for downtown visitors to make the most of their outing and truly get a sense of what the city of Watertown has to offer.

    With the opening of the market comes excitement and anticipation that summer is truly on its way and we are able to celebrate the offerings of our local farmers and crafters. Year after year we bring 50 to 60 local producers, crafters and food vendors to the community, creating a unique opportunity in Watertown that is met with much anticipation. If you are a farm or craft vendor, please contact our office to learn more about getting involved in our market. We encourage downtown business owners to get in contact with our team to learn more about getting the most out of our downtown market days.

    The Watertown Farm & Craft Market is held every Wednesday between May 24 and October 4 on Washington Street in downtown Watertown. For more information on the market or to learn about the GWNC Chamber of Commerce, please visit our website, watertownny.com or call us at (315) 788-4400.

Kylie peck is the president and CEO of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Clayton with her husband and two young boys. Contact her at kpeck@watertownny.com or 315-788-4400.

Winter Film Festival Success

The board of directors for the Snowtown Film Festival (from left) Marc Knapp, President, Steve Hunt, Member, Kylie Peck, Treasurer, Jason Maurer, Vice President, and Terry Brennen, Secretary.

Snowtown Film Festival sells record number of tickets drawing large crowds to downtown Watertown

[Read more…]

North Country Regional Economic Council discusses other options for Downtown Revitalization

The north country communities that are unsuccessful in the competition for $10 million in downtown revitalization funding may have other funding options available to them. [Read more…]

February 2016: People on the Move

New community manager at Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes

Josh Kennedy WEBJoshua Kennedy recently joined the staff of Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes as community manager for the Adirondack Creek community. [Read more…]

November 2015 20 Questions: James W. Wright, DANC

Regional solutions at work

Development Authority of the North Country executive director James W. “Jim” Wright talkes about the Authority’s 30-year history in his office at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Development Authority of the North Country executive director James W. “Jim” Wright talkes about the Authority’s 30-year history in his office at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

30 years later, DANC develops tools for success

A landfill hauler dumps trash at a regional solid waste management
facility. Workers install new fiber-optic cable for a high-speed telecommunications line. An entrepreneur acquires a loan to start a seasonal resort.

Those are but a few activities in Northern New York made possible by the Development Authority of the North Country, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The authority has seen many growing pains since it was established in June 1985 by the state Legislature, finding numerous ways to contract with municipalities and residents across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. On the occasion of 30 years of service, we sat down with DANC Executive Director James W. “Jim” Wright to learn more about his agency’s mission and its future. [Read more…]

NNY Bridal Showcase helps ease the stress of wedding planning, guests say

It was dreary morning outside the 23rd annual Northern New York Bridal Showcase at the Dulles State Office Building on Sunday, but a party was going on inside, complete with a light show, a DJ and 79 vendors plying their wedding wares.

Taylor Swift provided the soundtrack.

“It’s a love story, baby; just say ‘Yes,’” she sang.

Rachael J. “Sunshine” Sullenger, of Salem, Ore., walked through the show with her friend Keith T. Rogers-Brennan, of Watertown.

Miss Sullenger is scheduled to be married July 4 and was looking for ideas for her wedding.

She summed up her reasons for coming to the show in one word: “ease.”

“Because I’m super-stressed-out about this,” Miss Sullenger said. “I’m already ready to register now, so I’m further ahead than I’ve ever been.”

Miss Sullenger said she would register at Bed, Bath & Beyond, which had a booth at the show.

“There’s tons of stuff there,” she said. “It’s beyond.”

Mr. Roger-Brennan said he studied design in school and was enjoying the show. His favorite booth, he said, was “the one with the free food.”

Judith C. Mead, one of the event organizers, said the show provides just the thing for which Miss Sullenger and others are searching.

“Brides have told me they can get more work done in two hours than in two weeks making appointments out on the street,” Mrs. Mead said.

The free show gives brides an opportunity to review everything from photographers to limousine services to spas and wedding venues.

While white dresses, cakes and photographers will always be considered wedding staples, there was room at the show for some new trends, including aerial photography.

Jason R. and Amanda N. DesJardins, owners of Horizon Aerial Media Services of Glen Park, said they have worked three weddings since forming their business in the spring of 2014.

The couple uses small, camera-equipped aircraft to provide unusual views of wedding celebrations.

“It gives a unique perspective,” Mrs. DesJardins said. “We mix it with ground footage, too.”

Photo booths also have been a growing trend in recent years.

“It gives the bride and groom a chance to see things they’re not seeing themselves,” said Cindy J. Fleming of C&C Photography, Theresa.

The booths have become more and more popular, even as smartphones with digital cameras have proliferated, a trend Ms. Fleming attributes to the fun and novelty the booths provide.

By giving guests a chance to be goofy by using different props to mug for the camera, the booths keep the wedding feeling light and fun, Ms. Fleming said.

C&C Photography even produces a scrapbook of shots from the photo booth immediately after the wedding, something the bride and bridegroom appreciate, Ms. Fleming said.

The show ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.



By Daniel Flatley, Times Staff Writer

GWNC Chamber of Commerce Farm & Craft Market – July 2013 on Washington Street, Watertown

The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce Farm and Craft Market is held Wednesdays from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dulles State Office Building on State Street through Oct. 2.