It’s prime time for the business of farming in Chautauqua County

It’s harvest time, and in Chautauqua County that means you can literally smell the grapes from the vineyards as you drive along Route 20. But it’s more than just grapes that are being harvested right now. Chautauqua County growers have seen a plethora of tomatoes, squash, and other vegetables this year. Late season corn is still available, and pumpkins are everywhere right now. Field crops such as grains and hay are also being harvested.

What does all of this have to do with business, you may wonder? Farming is business. It’s big business in Chautauqua County and across New York State. In Chautauqua County alone there are more than 1,500 farms, producing all types of products from milk to poultry to beef to fruits and vegetables. And that doesn’t even count the enormous number of individuals who have their own backyard gardens, raising produce and herbs.

Many local farms sell their products to consumers in a variety of ways: farmers markets, direct sales to supermarkets, farm stands, and more. Tons of grapes harvested locally go into local winemaking, but they also go into other grape products, especially juice and jelly. Beverage and food production companies abound in Chautauqua County, featuring everything from craft beers, wines, and spirits to grape pie filling.

Our region has not only a strong agricultural economy it also has strong support systems in place for local growers. Cornell Cooperative Extension houses a Community Educator for Dairy/Livestock as well as a Business Management Specialist for Field Crops. There is a whole facility with support staff for research and extension in the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program.

This past week, State Senator George Borrello hosted legislators from other parts of New York State in a regional farm tour with focused stops at a variety of agribusiness and research sites in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. But you don’t have to have any special title to learn more about agriculture. Cornell Cooperative Extension is holding Visit the Farm Day on Saturday, October 1, at Brehm Farms at 3456 Dry Book Road, Falconer. This event is family friendly and free. It will feature guided walking tours of the farm from 11am-3pm and will include interactive stations where guests can learn about caring for calves, feeding, and housing dairy cows, farm equipment, crops, and more. You can learn more about this event at www.facebook.com/CCEChautauqua. If you’re a home gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension also has resources for you through the Master Gardener’s program and through its LEAF Workshop series featuring a variety of classes from Basics of Home Food Preservation to Yeast Breads. Learn more at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua.


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will proudly recognize the service to our communities of a number of individuals and organizations during its Annual Awards Banquet, Thursday, October 6. Being honored as Person of the Year is Steven Cobb, the executive director of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County. In his role he has not only grown the organization but has played a key roll in providing vital service to those in need by working collaboratively with a broad variety of people and organizations.

The Economic Development Award will be presented to the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College, which has dramatically increased the number of businesses it serves annually from 350 to 800. The SBDC provides help for small businesses looking to draft business plans, navigate permitting processes, seek financing, and more.

Each of our six Community Chambers of Commerce has named a Community Service Award recipient as well. In Dunkirk the award will go to Dan Palmer of WDOE radio; in Fredonia to Ian and Kyle Muldowney of Muldowney Brothers; in Hanover to Bill Merritt of Merritt Estate Winery, in Jamestown to Tom Benson primarily for his work with the National Comedy Center and the YMCA; in Mayville-Chautauqua to Fairlee Fischer for her efforts with the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Thrift Store; and in Westfield-Barcelona to former Chamber Coordinator Sue Poster for her countless efforts with community organizations over the years.

The annual Awards Banquet will be held at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia and is sponsored by Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric, Brooks-TLC-Kaleida Hospital System, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, Community Bank, DFT Communications, Forecon, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress, LaBella Associates, Lake Shore Savings, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Media One Radio Group, and National Grid. Advance reservations are required, and registration is available at www.chamberrsvp.org.


Join your fellow Chamber of Commerce members for a Business After Hours networking event and visit this charming spot in Bemus Point! The Bemus Point Golf Club & Tap House is at 72 Main Street in Bemus Point. Enjoy appetizers and a cash bar while you network with other businesspeople. Chamber member businesses can send two people at no cost. The price is $10 for non-member businesspeople or for additional member attendees above the two free. Be sure to bring business cards for our door prize drawings and come prepared to give a quick (30 second) overview about your business so other attendees can get to know you. Sponsors for this event are Bemus Point Golf Club & Tap House, DFT Communications, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal. Register now through the Chamber’s web event calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Save the Date: Business After Hours at 21 Brix is October 27

The Chamber of Commerce is proud to hold a series of Business After Hours networking events this fall throughout the county. 21 Brix Winery on West Main Road in Portland will host the Chamber from 5-6:30pm on Thursday, October 27. Chamber member businesses can send two people at no charge, and non-members or anyone above the first two pay just $10 per person. Admission includes appetizers, a cash bar, a chance for door prizes when you submit your business card, and great opportunities for networking with other local businesspeople. This event is sponsored by 21 Brix Winery, Brooks-TLC Hospital System, DFT Communications, Media One Radio Group, National Grid, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal. Learn more or register online through the Chamber’s web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.


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