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It’s official!

New York State Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard Ball cuts down the first Christmas tree of the season Monday at Goderie'sTree Farm. It is due to be placed at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — With state Commissioner of Agriculture & Markets Richard Ball sawing away beneath an eight-foot Fraser fur at Goderie’s Tree Farm late Monday morning, the Christmas tree cutting season was officially launched in New York state.

The commissioner chose Goderie’s on County Highway 106 among the 750 tree farms across the Empire State to make the first ceremonial cut of the2020 holiday season.

Prior to cutting the tree — destined for the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center in Fultonville — officials took time to talk about how Christmas trees have a $13.8 million impact on the economy.

Others in attendance included representatives from the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York Farm Bureau, Fulton County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Christmas Tree Farmers’ Association of New York.

“It is important this year more than ever that New Yorkers support local farmers and businesses when doing their holiday shopping, whether they’re looking for a Christmas tree or a delicious addition to their holiday meal,” Ball said. “Visiting a tree farm this year to cut your own tree is great, socially distanced fun way to celebrate the season while supporting your local farm and the agricultural community,:

Goderie's Tree Farm sign. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Goderie’s co-owner Pete Goderie also stated: “With nearly 800 tree farms in New York state, consumers can easily support a local tree farm, providing a shot in the arm to our industry

A state news release issued on the event Monday noted that with approximately 300,000 New York-grown trees sold by more than 750 farms in Upstate New York, the state ranks sixth in the U.S. for the number of acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees. To promote the industry, the department is sponsoring displays of local trees and handmade wreaths in Welcome Centers and Taste NY stores statewide.

In addition, New York state will also be featuring New York grown trees at the Empire State Plaza, Capitol building, and the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. office building in Harlem.

Ball told those assembled at Goderie’s that he is a farmer and being at Goderie’s “just felt right to be here.”

In addition to local Christmas trees and wreaths, this holiday season, welcome centers and Taste NY locations will feature a wide variety of gifts and gift sets filled with local products made and produced by New York farms and food and beverage producers. From local gourmet food items and locally produced craft beverages to New York made novelty items, and even bath and beauty products, gifts range in size and price and can be customized.

According to a news release, Taste NY markets are a place to purchase a wide range of foods and beverages that can be used to create fresh, delicious holiday meals. From charcuterie meats and cheeses to wine and cider, many markets and stores sell grocery items.

An online marketplace, https://shoptasteny.com/, launched in spring 2020, allows consumers to shop for New York agricultural products and gifts from the comfort of their own homes. ShopTasteNY.com has holiday gift sets available for purchase in addition to their regular selection of products that highlight the quality and diversity of New York products. Orders can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, and those placed by Dec. 17 will arrive by Dec. 24.

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