A new tax credit for restaurants could help New York's small, family-owned farms survive, according to state Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City.
Gathering with other lawmakers and advocates of local farms at Dr. Davies Farm on Route 304 in Congers on Friday morning, Carlucci proposed that restaurants in New York be given a $100 tax break for every $1,000 of produce they buy from small farms within 100 miles in New York State.
“Preserving New York’s farmland and promoting our fine agricultural products is a top priority,” Carlucci said. “While New York farmers have risen to meet the many challenges they face in a globalized agricultural economy, they can still use the help that New York State can provide. The package of bills I have introduced will preserve farmland, promote the importance of locally grown produce and grow local farms throughout the State.”
Carlucci on Friday got the support of Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, for his proposal, along with support from well-known chef and restaurant owner Peter Kelly, members of the Rockland Farm Alliance and Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell.
Kelly, owner of Restaurant X in Congers and Xaviars in Piermont, said he uses nearby farms and local farmers' markets as the source of produce for his restaurants. He said that by using locally-grown products, local restaurants have been developing a Hudson Valley cuisine.
Carlucci said his proposal, as designed, would especially encourage restaurants in New York City to take advantage of produce generated by small, family farms.
In an effort to boost local farms, Carlucci has also proposed making the onion New York's state vegetable. Carlucci said the proposal is in recognition of New York's large onion crop, especially in the black dirt region of neighboring Orange County.
"By making the onion the state vegetable we will increase awareness of how valuable onions are for the state’s agricultural economy and increase funding for onion research as well as bring attention to local farms," Carlucci said.