Last week, students at SUNY Cobleskill dined on rabbit that was raised on the campus farm, a concept in line with a recent initiative announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that will encourage greater usage of local products in restaurants across New York.
Jeff Weissinger, director of dining services at the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, said the five dining establishments on campus, as well as the off-campus restaurant on Main Street, Coby's Cafe, pledged to continue to use as many locally produced agricultural products as possible, including those from the college farm. This year, 25 percent of the college's total food budget was spent locally, Weissinger said, and next year the college is hoping to raise that percentage to 35.
Cobleskill was one of more than 100 restaurants that recently took the Pride of NY Pledge, a commitment to increase the sourcing, marketing and education of New York State-grown and made products, according to a media release from Cuomo's office. The pledge is part of the Taste NY initiative, the release said, and will help raise more awareness and introduce more New York State-made products to restaurants, and their patrons, across the state.
Weissinger said the rabbit meal is just one example of how the college is using local products in its meals. Pork, beef, goat, chicken and fish from the college's farm is served regularly and more than 90 percent of the produce that used comes from local farms, he said. The college works with a company out of Gloversville, called Antonucci's Wholesale Produce, he said, to locate and purchase the produce.
More and more, Weissinger said, people want to know where there food is coming from. Off-campus, more than 150 people dine at Coby's each day, he said.