County products featured in annual Harvest Dinner

Paul Forestiere and Judith Santore

Paul Forestiere (right), executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, present Judith Santore and her granddaughter, Christianna, with an award in honor of their husband and grandfather, the late Legislator Paul Santore. Santore was recognized at the annual Harvest Dinner for his service to the community and his love and enthusiasm for all things in Oswego County.

by Nicole Reitz

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County hosted its third annual Harvest Dinner Friday at the American Foundry to a sold out crowd.

The dinner, consisting of six courses, showcased the quality and diversity of agriculture in Oswego County by featuring locally grown and sourced food.

Chefs Emil Nymander from The American Foundry, Brian Girard of Blue Plate Seafood, and Bill Hubel from Blue Moon Grill provided guests with dishes that used ingredients from the county’s abundance of farms.

Menu items included corn chowder, elk hunters stew, an onion tart, breads made by BOCES Culinary students, and maple cream from Fulton’s Red Schoolhouse Maple.

Oswego County boasts 639 farms, which supplies 5,000 jobs and generates $39.4 million in annual revenue.

Within the county there are at least seven local farmers markets with one open almost every day of the week. The markets showcase all that the county has to offer, including wines, maple syrup, honey and wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

Before the microphone was given over to guest speaker Tom Rivers, a reporter covering agriculture in Batavia, a special honor was given in memory of Oswego County Legislature Paul Santore, who died in September.

Santore served on numerous committees and was heavily involved in the community. His wife, Judith Santore, and granddaughter, Christianna, accepted the award.

“He was a steadfast supporter of Cooperative Extension and committed volunteer and participant of the Oswego County 4-H program,”  said Paul Forestiere, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County. “He truly believed he could make Oswego County a better place to live, and willingly gave up his time and talents toward that goal.”

Judith Santore said, “In Paul’s memory I thank everyone at Cooperative Extension. Paul was an honorable man, and he did love Oswego County and everyone in it immensely.”

Rivers spoke of his first-person newspaper series about farm work and the subsequent book he published, “Farm Hands: Hard work and Hard Lessons from Western New York Fields.”

Rivers covered agriculture for the Daily News in Batavia for five years before trying the labor intensive jobs in the areas of fruit, vegetable and dairy. He wanted to uncover why the local people from the area wouldn’t handle these jobs themselves, but instead resorted to migrant help.

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