Category Archives: Featured Stories

A cornucopia of plenty abounds in Oswego County agriculture

By Debra J. Groom

Friday night, I gathered with about 200 other folks to savor all that is grand about Oswego County agriculture.

From the lamb to the onions to the butternut squash to the strawberries, Oswego County has so much to offer that it’s easy as pie to put on a six-course meal using all that the county’s farmers serve up each and every year.

The fourth annual Oswego County Harvest Dinner, presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, was Friday at the American Foundry in Oswego. As Executive Director Paul Forestiere put it, the dinner wasn’t for the extension folks.

“We already know about agriculture in Oswego County,” he said. “This is for you.”

And off we went, through a culinary exploration of Oswego County.

First, a savory butternut squash soup. While different from my own recipe, it was fabulous to taste the squash and the spices dance on the tongue.

Next up, a salad of greens and apples.

Now, Oswego County is well known for its apple orchards, from all along the shoreline of Lake Ontario to up into the northern reaches of the county in Mexico. In fact, Oswego ranks 11th in the state in apple production.

Then on to the main courses. First, an apple-cider braised beef with corn succotash and potatoes. This was soooo good I can’t even explain it. The meat fell apart, much like a pot roast that has been simmering in the crock pot for hours. And the succotash was interesting — it was missing the lima beans I was expecting. Instead, there was broccoli and peppers, which gave it a sweet flavor.

The next course was a leek and cheese quiche. Yummy. How can eggs, cheese and cream taste bad?

Next was lamb kabobs with onion. And don’t forget the creamy Chobani yogurt to dip them in.

And if that wasn’t enough (I was pretty full by then), then came dessert — a warm strawberry-rhubarb shortcake with sweet cream. Not sure where I put it, but it was fabulous.

Yes, all of these courses contained foods produced or grown right here in Oswego County. Even items like the Chobani yogurt, butter from Queensboro Farm Products in Canastota and milk, cream and half and half from Byrne Dairy all are made with milk from Oswego County cows.

Sure, you may think, “So what? It’s a dinner.” But it really means something to sit there, eat the scrumptious food and realize that people you know, people you may have talked to, people you have seen at the post office, they work hard each and every day to make this food for you.

Agriculture is a $40 million business in Oswego County. While many counties are known for their dairy industry, Oswego County is one of the most diverse agricultural locales in the state, said Cooperative Extension Agriculture Manager Jonathan Schell. In fact, here’s a bit of trivia — Oswego County is the largest producer of cranberries in the state.

So I wholeheartedly recommend attending this event if it is held again next year. It is totally worth it. And you just might learn something.

Farms contributing to the Harvest Dinner

Agri-Mark, Mass., (Oswego County milk goes to Agri-Mark), cheddar cheese and butter

Appledale Orchards, Mexico, apple cider and apples

Behling Orchards, Mexico, apples

Bieler Enterprises, Williamstown, cranberries and cranberry juice

Black Creek Farms, Oswego, lamb

Black Sheep Farm, Hannibal, lamb

Brannan Farm Stand, Fulton, sweet corn

Bristol’s Weather Haven Farm, Parish, squash

Byrne Dairy, LaFayette, milk, cream and half and half

Caltabiano Farm, Phoenix, garlic

Chobani, New Berlin, Greek yogurt

Colosse Cheese Store, Pulaski, Swiss cheese

Dan Dunsmoor Farms, Oswego, onions

Dan E. Yoder & Family, Mexico, strawberries

Fowler’s Farm, Hannibal, sweet corn

Fruit Valley Orchard, tomatoes and Lady apples

Gaetano J. Basta Farm, Fulton, leeks, peppers and celery

Greco Family Farm and Orchard, Oswego, apples

Grindstone Farm, Pulaski, salad greens and herbs

Hess Family Farm, Hannibal, eggs

Heritage Hill Farm, Lacona, maple syrup

Hives of Howard, Oswego, honey

Hopkinson Farms, Williamstown, potatoes

Ingersoll Farms, Fulton, sweet corn, butternut squash and garlic

Jacobsen Farms, Fulton, shallots

Maryinuk Farms, Phoenix, asparagus

Mattland Farms, Richland, beef, chicken and Italian sausage

Maurice and Virginia Hurd, Sandy Creek, rhubarb

New York Bold, Oswego, onions

Ontario Orchards, Oswego, butternut squash, carrots and pumpkins

Paul’s Nursery, Fulton, lettuce, butternut squash and tomatoes

Queensboro Farm Products, Canastota, butter

Sorbello & Sons, Inc., Granby, onions

Wiltse Farms, Constantia, blueberries

W.W.Ranch, Bernhards Bay, beef

Lake Neatahwanta talk tonight at Friends of History

The Friends of History in Fulton are welcoming Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. as the guest speaker at their final program of the year.

He will be speaking about the project the city has undertaken to clean up Lake Neatahwanta. There are plans to dredge the lake and find the springs that were filled in when the American Woolen Mill left Fulton.

Woodward will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 23, tonight, at John Wells Pratt History Museum, 177 S. First St., Fulton. Contact the Friends of History at 598-4616 or send an email to for more information. 

Pathfinder Industries celebrates grand reopening

Pathfinder Industries celebrated its grand reopening with a ribbon cutting  Friday, Oct. 11.

A fire destroyed the building March 9, 2013. Now, seven months later, the machine manufacturer of sheet metal and machine parts is up and running in a new building.

Evelyn LiVoti, marketing and development manager for Operation Oswego County, said the county’s industrial development agency helped Pathfinder finance the project. The new building is located directly on the site of the one that was destroyed in the fire. at located at 117 N. Third St., Fulton.

Pictured, holding scissors, are co-owners Marcia Ives (left) and Maribeth Myers (right) surrounded by their employees.

Also pictured, to Myers’ right, are Louella LeClair, 25th district county legislator; Holly Carpenter, representative for Sen. Patty Ritchie; L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of Operation Oswego County; Terry Wilbur, 21st district county legislator; and Larry Macner, Fulton Common Council, Sixth Ward.

Registration continues for Head Start

Oswego County Head Start Pre-K continues to accept applications for the 2013-2014 program year.

The program enrolls 3- and 4-year-old children and is provided at no cost to families.

Head Start’s goal is promoting kindergarten readiness through a variety of learning materials and developmentally appropriate opportunities that assist children in developing academically, socially, and emotionally.

Family involvement is strongly encouraged. Parents have a central role in the program as partners in the educational process.

There are opportunities to be involved in parent committees, volunteer in the classrooms, as part of program development, and attending workshops.

A program of Oswego County Opportunities, Head Start Pre-K has seven centers located throughout Oswego County and enrolls children from all nine county school districts.

Applications are accepted yearround with waiting lists maintained for openings that may occur.

Families that would like more information can visit our website at

To complete an application, call 598-4711 or 800-359-1171 to schedule an appointment.

Children collect markers to be recycled for fuel

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

An eco-friendly initiative that recycles used markers to make fuel is gaining local support as the Blue Team at the Stepping Stones Day Program in Fulton recently hopped on board for the cause.

Students in the program, which is collaboration between Oswego County BOCES and Hillside Children’s Center, teamed with Crayola and other schools across North America to participate in the green initiative.

The Crayola ColorCycle program includes students in kindergarten through 12th-grade schools who collect used markers and send them to a conversion facility where they are transformed into clean-burning fuel.

“ColorCycle offers a great opportunity for teachers and their students to explore eco-friendly practices,” said BOCES exceptional education teacher Robyn Yorker, of the Stepping Stones Program. “In addition to the ‘magic’ of marker-to-energy conversion, specially developed standards-based lesson plans are available to enrich instruction.”

According to the energy companies involved in the recycling project, one box of markers can create enough energy to cook an egg, make toast and brew one pot of coffee.

Hundreds visit St. Francis Commons during open house

Hundreds of people visited St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence during an open house this past weekend.

Those attending toured the new residence and learned about the unique services and amenities to be offered to the community.

“It was wonderful to see such a great turnout for our open house and a little overwhelming; for us, this only confirmed the level of interest our community has in assisted living and visitors had the opportunity to be among the first to see the results of our construction project,” said Julie Chetney, senior living director at St. Francis Commons.

“It is confirmation that our organization is on the right track in terms of introducing a new service to our community, and in the weeks ahead we will prepare to begin to welcome our first residents,” she said.

Construction of St. Francis Commons took almost 11 months, commencing with our groundbreaking last November, said Karen Murray, executive director.

She said the residence will provide supportive housing and care at a level that is less than a nursing home but more than may be found in an independent setting.

Services at St. Francis Commons will include three meals a day, housekeeping with linen and personal laundry services, scheduled transportation, social programs, assistance with personal care and medication management.

A hair salon, gift shop, as well as cable television and telephone connections in each room are some of the amenities to be offered.

St. Francis Commons will accommodate 60 individuals in three “neighborhoods” within the residence. Private payment, Medicaid, private insurance reimbursement and Supplemental Security Income  will be accepted.

A 14-bed neighborhood within the new residence, Memory Care at St. Francis, will serve individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia-related illness, like Alzheimer’s disease, who will benefit from a community-based living environment with specialized supportive services.

“Based on the feedback we received from folks we spoke with during the open house, there is a real need in our community for the services we will be able to provide through our special care neighborhood,” Chetney said.

St. Francis Commons is hoping to begin welcoming residents within a few weeks.

The St. Francis Commons project is the latest phase in development on the St. Luke health care campus. The campus consists of 15 acres and includes St. Luke Health Services, Bishop’s Commons Enriched Living Residence and Little Lukes Childcare Center.

Funding for construction of the $9.1 million assisted living program residence included an $8 million HEAL-NY grant through the state  Department of Health. Additional financing for the project has been made available through Operation Oswego County, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the New York State Housing and Community Renewal and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, the City of Oswego’s Office of Community Development, Pathfinder Bank and the St. Luke-John Foster Burden Fund.

For information about resident application process, call St. Francis Commons at 326-0870, or visit them on the web at

Oswego Health gets accreditation

Oswego Hospital has been accredited by The Joint Commission following a four-day survey conducted by the national standards organization.

The Joint Commission visited Oswego Hospital in June.  The surveyors did recommend improvements and Oswego Hospital is in the process of making those improvements.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. To earn and maintain The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, an organization must undergo an on-site survey at least every three years.

News in brief

On Friday, Oct. 18, 47 uniformed officers who successfully completed the basic police academy for state Department of Environmental Conservation Police and Forest Rangers graduated at the Training Academy in Pulaski.

New officers and rangers from the Oswego County area are:

Officer Waldemar Auguscinski, Pulaski; Officer Edward J. Piwko, Parish; and Officer  Geoffrey A. Younglove, Red Creek.


Jimmie James BBQ celebrated its grand opening Oct. 20 at its new site, 5048 State Route 104, Scriba.

There was a car show, drawings, giveaways and free samples.

For more information on the business, call 342-7427 or go to The site in in the old Woody’s Building in Scriba.


Dynamic, one of Oswego County’s largest automotive accessory stores, recently added Tim Smith to its sales team.

Smith has more than 10 years experience in the automotive industry and customer relations.

Previously working for an automotive dealer, Smith will be responsible for working with the sales team at Dynamic as well as managing and growing the customer base and enhancing dealer relations.

“Tim has such a knowledge for the industry and we’re very excited to have Tim on board and a part of our team,” says owner, Michael Leszczynski.

Dynamic was founded in 2001 and is located at 143 George St., Oswego. Dynamic specializes in automotive and home accessories.


The Oswego County Legislature recognized Tuesday, Oct. 15 as National White Cane Safety Day.

The day is set aside to promote awareness, education and advocacy for issues that affect individuals with a vision impairment requiring them to carry a white cane.

Members of the Oswego County Vision Network and ARISE were at hand to receive the proclamation.


The Fulton Public Library has been awarded a $5,000 state grant.

Betty Maute, library director, said the money will be used to repair and refurbish one of the building’s two chimneys.

She said the chimney has structural problems and needs to be “cleaned up and rebuilt.” The library building’s cornerstone was laid in 1905 and the building opened in 1908.

State Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, visited the library Oct. 9 to tell officials about the grant. The money should be arriving any day, a Ritchie spokeswoman said.


Travis Spirits and Wine Garden will have its grand opening celebration from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 25 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26.

Ron and Brenda Wilson are opening the new store at 1007 Auburn St., Hannibal inside the family business Travis Floral Shop, which has been a staple in the Hannibal area for more than 65 years.

The grand opening on Friday will include tastings of wine from Thousand Islands Winery adn tequila from locally owned 21 Tequila. Saturday’s event will include samples of wines paired with seasonal food and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon.


The New Haven Senior Citizens will meet at noon Monday, Oct. 28 at the New Haven Congregational Church.

Please notice time change. The meeting will include a shared meal, brief meeting and a program by Bridget Swartz and the Parish Writers.  All seniors are welcome.


The town of Sterling is having Meet the Candidates forums Nov. 2.

From noon to 1:30 p.m., residents can meet the candidates at Two D’s Diner in Martville. From 2 to 3:30 p.m., residents can turn out to meet the candidates at the Fair Haven Library.


State Street United Methodist Church is hosting its 93rd annual Harvest Dinner and Bazaar Saturday Nov. 2 at 357 State St., Fulton.

The bazaar is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the dinner is open 4 to 7 p.m.

Takeouts are available for the dinner. The menu includes turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, cole slaw, fresh squash, rolls, drinks and pies.

Bazaar vendors include Tupperware, candles, Avon, Rada knives, Stanley home products jewelry, crafts, bric-a-brac and more.

Proceeds help the church continue its service to the community that hs been ongoing for more than 100 years ago.


St. Stephen’s Church at 469 Main St., Phoenix, will have its Election Day spaghetti dinner from noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 5.

The menu will be spaghetti, meatballs, salad, bread, dessert and beverage.

For more information, call Dave at 559-1096.