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New Orange County Employer Amy’s Kitchen Will Soon Create 700 Good-Paying, Local Jobs With The Potential To Expand To Nearly 1,000 Jobs, However Amy’s Needs Reliable, Regional And Organic Produce To Plant Long-Term Roots

Schumer & Amy’s Kitchen CEO Will Talk To Hudson Valley Farmers About Opportunities To Supply Organic Ingredients For Producers Like Amy’s; As New Farm Bill Approaches’, Senator Will Hear Input From Local Farmers And Agricultural Stakeholders On How To Strengthen Organic Programs 

Schumer: There Are Endless Pasta-Bilities For Local Farmers When Amy’s Kitchen Comes To Town 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today joined Amy’s Kitchen CEO Andy Berliner, local Hudson Valley farmers and officials to identify ways to help support local Hudson Valley farmers who are looking to tap into the budding organic farming industry, as well as ways to help meet Amy’s Kitchen’s growing produce needs. Schumer, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, received input from local Hudson Valley farmers and agricultural stakeholders on how to work to strengthen organic programs ahead of the upcoming Farm Bill. Schumer said new opportunities to sell produce to popular organic companies like Amy’s Kitchen, who depend on reliable, regional and organic ingredients, could be a major boost for local farmers. In addition, Schumer said it’s imperative that Amy’s has an ample supply of local organic produce, so they can grow their business and inject hundreds of new jobs into Orange County. Currently, Amy’s Kitchen is turning a vacant Goshen building into a major distribution center, which is expected to create 700 good-paying, local jobs with the potential to expand to nearly 1,000 jobs.

“Orange County, the Hudson Valley, and New York State have the right ingredients to become a reliable source of local and organic produce for companies like Amy’s Kitchen. After all, farming is the lifeblood of the Upstate economy, so making sure that companies like Amy’s Kitchen and farmers like the ones joining me today are allowed to explore every resource and potential market available to organic farming is vital,” said Senator Schumer. “Supporting New York’s agricultural industry has and continues to be a top priority of mine and that is why I want to provide local farmers with every available resource to help expand organic farming here in the Hudson Valley and across upstate New York.”

“With our new facility in Goshen, New York opening in the near future, we are fortunate that Senator Schumer has welcomed us into this discussion with local Hudson Valley farmers and agricultural stakeholders. As we prepare for the needs of our new facility, we are eager to have an open discussion on how to strengthen the long-term sustainability of New York farmers and producers ahead of the upcoming Farm Bill. We would like to thank Senator Schumer for his unwavering support for businesses like Amy’s Kitchen and the organic farmers on which we depend,” said Andy Berliner, Amy’s Kitchen CEO.

Schumer explained that consumer demand for organic farming in New York and nationwide has been rapidly increasing over the last decade. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM), the number of Certified Organic Farmers reported to NYS has grown from 392 in 2005 to over 1,050 in 2015. According to the 2014 USDA Organic Census, New York State is the 3rd largest state for the number of organic farms, 4th in the number of organic farm acres, and 7th in annual sales, with over 1400 organic farms and businesses maintaining the USDA certified organic label. 

Last summer, amidst reports of massive organic fraud from the Washington Post, Schumer wrote a letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sec. Perdue calling on the USDA to work with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to examine and immediately address the issue of organic fraud. Furthermore, Schumer asked the USDA to work with stakeholders to come up with new best practices on how the USDA can do a better job of monitoring for fraudulent organic imports. Schumer said stronger oversight is crucial to not only ensure consumer confidence but also to allow New York’s organic farmers and products to compete on a level playing field.

With construction at Amy’s Kitchen’s Goshen facility set to begin this year, Schumer is optimistic that the new facility will have a significant positive economic impact on local Hudson Valley farms and the regional agricultural industry.  He explained, that Amy’s Kitchen has historically relied on local communities and small businesses to provide ingredients for their distribution centers and product lines. Schumer said the new Goshen facility would allow Hudson Valley farmers, as well as farmers from across the region, the opportunity to sell their products directly to Amy’s Kitchen. Schumer, during his visit, said the development of this new facility in Goshen could mean increased opportunities for Orange County producers and farmers to provide ingredients for Amy’s products.

Amy’s Kitchen is a California-based, family-owned organic and natural food distribution company that sells its products to many large national retail chains, including ShopRite, Price Chopper and Wal-Mart. In 2014, the company announced it would be building a $95 million, 369,000-sq. foot development in Goshen, NY. The formerly vacant site that Amy’s is expected to occupy is located between 100 Echo Lake Road and Route 17M – a 200-acre parcel of land that Schumer said is ripe for development. According to company officials, the new distribution facility is expected to employ roughly 700 local residents in Orange County.

Schumer was joined by Andy Berliner, Amy’s Kitchen CEO; Maureen Halahan, President of Orange County Partnership; Lucy Joyce, Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director; Chris Kelder, State Director of New York Farm Bureau; Liana Hoodes, Northeast Organic Farm Association Policy Advisor; Doug Bloomfield, Town of Goshen Supervisor; Joe DeStefano, City of Middletown Mayor, and John Lupinski, President of Orange County Farm Bureau.

Schumer has long advocated for Amy’s Kitchen. Last year, Schumer successfully pushed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a federal permit that Amy’s Kitchen needed to begin construction on the Goshen facility. Previously, Schumer focused on helping Amy’s Kitchen receive the wetlands jurisdictional determination and has also helped the company secure other federal approvals, including a Memorandum of Agreement for the recovery of significant information from archaeological sites, a consultation on endangered species with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other approvals needed to begin work on the facility. Additionally, in December 2015, Schumer met with Andy and Rachel Berliner, co-founders and owners of Amy’s Kitchen, to discuss ways to help the company create jobs and prosper in the Hudson Valley.