Much has happened with the cuisine trail effort since my last message, so I wanted to update you on our progress. First, the Adirondack Cuisine Trail Association (ACTA) has passed a critical milestone with the submission of six (6) cuisine trail applications to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets! They are:
- Essex County – Champlain Valley Cuisine Trail and Ausable Valley Cuisine Trail.
- Franklin County – Adirondack Lakes Cuisine Trail and Northern Franklin County Cuisine Trail.
- Clinton County – Northern Adirondack Coast Cuisine Trail and Central Adirondack Coast Cuisine Trail.
These six applications represent significant and outstanding work by some very dedicated individuals. In Essex County, our working group included Dan Rivera, Cynthia Johnson, Nancy Belluscio, Wendy Knight, Monica McGaughey, Josh Bakelaar, Sarah White and Anita Deming. In Franklin County, Ernie Hohmeyer, Shannon O’Bourne from Paul Smiths College and CCE Executive Director Rick LeVitre organized the effort. And in Clinton County, North County Chamber of Commerce Group Marketing Specialist Alyssa Senecal and County Legislator Chris Rosenquest lead the way.
A special thank you goes to Lindsay Pashow, Cornell Cooperative Extension Marketing Specialist, for assisting both Essex County and Franklin County with the applications. She ran the roads through both counties collecting letters of support, attending meetings and worked on creating maps for the trails.
Also, I’d like to recognize Kim Reilly, Vice President of Marketing for ROOST and Alyssa Senecal for developing a marketing plan for the trails. To have ROOST and the Chamber both onboard for promoting the ACTA trails is powerful indeed and will go a long way toward telling our cuisine story successfully.
And so, we wait! Representatives from Ag and Markets have said we should be hearing from them around September 1st with their preliminary review of the applications. However, not to let any grass grow under our feet, another exciting opportunity is developing! The group CANAMEX (Canadian/American Exchange) led by former Town of Keene Supervisor Tom Both, has followed our progress and invited ACTA to participate in their activities.
CANAMEX is a cross-boarder group of agriculture enthusiasts who have been interested in promoting local products and their producers for over 15 years. Tom, one of the founders of Adirondack Harvest, has developed and maintained relationships with Quebec farmers and other agricultural community members who helped develop the Circuit de Paysan (Circuit of the Peasant) which is southern Quebec’s cuisine/agri-tourism trail.
Circuit de Paysan is a province sanctioned trail that was established 16 years ago, with many dozens of members, has a budget of over $100,000 and sees hundreds of thousands of Quebec residents travel the trail every year. It is very clear that our fledgling trail effort could learn a lot from this established tourism powerhouse!
Join a Tour of Circuit de Paysan
With the concept of learning best practices in mind, we have arranged a tour of the Circuit de Paysan on Friday, August 19th. Trail representatives will play host to future ACTA trail members and supporters who will learn what it takes to organize, fund and manage a successful tourism trail. The tour will include 5-6 stops covering a wide variety of producers and will include lunch at no cost. Our Quebec hosts are being very generous with their time and resources.
At this time, we have established a tour limit of approximately 25 participants. Please email me [firstname.lastname@example.org] if you have interest in attending this exciting event. This is the first of what I’m sure will be many opportunities to learn from our friends to the north. AND, without putting carts before any horses, there is preliminary conversations around the concept of a joint, International Cuisine Trail (linking ACTA and the Circuit). More on that to come!
As you can see, we have been making considerable progress and it is all owed to a really dedicated group of visionary people who have put in the time and effort to make ACTA a reality. Since we first started discussing the development of one cuisine trail in Essex County last January, we have now developed a web of 6 interconnected cuisine trails around the entire North Country. Not bad for six months work! Hopefully, many of you can help us celebrate this progress on the 19th. Please RSVP at your earliest convenience.
President – Board of Directors
Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Cuisine Trail to head into Clinton County – Sun Community News & Printing (suncommunitynews.com)
- Essex County Cuisine Trail Progress (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Establishing Two Cuisine Trails in Essex County (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)