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Three-star general returns home after 37 years to start up family-run distillery

For the first time since 1978, Lieutenant General Michael Basla, a retired senior cyberspace officer at the Pentagon, has returned to Cazenovia to live — and to start up a new local distillery that will produce whiskey, bourbon, gin and vodka and become a new member of the Cazenovia Beverage Trail. Basla, along with his son-in-law Patrick Ruddy and his son Adam Basla (who currently lives in Germany), has just returned from a trip to Germany to purchase his distillery equipment, and plans to break ground on his new endeavor, Madison County Distillery, by the end of August.

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Local Amish farm expands product offerings at Fenner Road farm market

Shoppers at the Cazenovia Farmers Market who enjoy buying organically grown products from James and Ada Yoder’s Local Roots Farm stand now can purchase a wider array of offerings from the Yoder’s recently opened farm market on Fenner Road. The Yoder family, which is participating for its second year at the farmers market, last year specialized in salad greens and eggs. This year, with the opening of their new market at their farm provide a variety of specialty items like granola and pancake mixes, among other products.

Explore local farms at the eighth annual Open Farm Day

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Madison County has announced that Open Farm Day will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at 29 farms and three farmers’ markets throughout Madison County. Open Farm Day is a free, family-friendly event that offers the public the opportunity to tour farms, enjoy food tastings, meet animals and learn about local agriculture.

Skanda Equine to host teamwork building workshop for kids

On July 13, Skanda Equine will launch an exciting teamwork building workshop for youth ages 10 to 12 on its 70-acre working farm in Cazenovia. Blending theatre exercises, intimate time with Skanda’s animals, walks in nature, collaborative storytelling games, yoga and more, this unique program focuses on seven key elements of team building over the course of seven weeks.

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Dennison hired at White’s Farm Supply

White’s Farm Supply, Inc. is excited to welcome back Andy Dennison.

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New chef, new menu, new wine – Owera Vineyards kickstarts summer season

Owera Vineyards has been winning medals for the quality of its Cazenovia-made wines for years, and now Madison County’s only winery is seeking to make a new mark on people’s palates with its food. Owera has started the 2015 summer season with a new chef and a new tasting room menu — with all the ingredients coming not just locally, but many from Owera’s own backyard.

Area school districts named as finalists for an America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant

In the Madison County area, two school districts have been announced as finalists in this year’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Canastota Central School District and Stockbridge Valley Central School District are among the top districts in New York in the running for grants of $10,000 and $25,000.

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Owera Vineyards, town of Caz square off in state supreme court

Two sides argue merits of planning board site plan approval for winery’s proposed new event center

Attorneys for the Town of Cazenovia, Owera Vineyards and East Lake Road neighbors of Owera Vineyards this week appeared before State Supreme Court Judge Dennis K. McDermott in Wampsville to argue whether the town planning board exceeded its authority in its February site plan approval for Owera’s proposed 6,300 square-foot permanent promotion and marketing facility.

Industrial hemp documentary to be shown at the Cazenovia Public Library

To celebrate National Hemp History Week, all are invited to the Cazenovia Public Library community room at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, for a screening of “Bringing It Home,” an industrial hemp documentary that has sparked action on farming legalization and policy reform.

Madison County Fair set for July 9 through 12

The176th annual edition of the Madison County Fair will run July 9 through 12, and the 2015 theme is “We’ve Got a Good Thing Growing.” Plans are underway for some new exciting shows, contest, and surprises, along with the return of some old favorites.

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Shovels in the dirt

Empire Farmstead Brewery breaks ground on Rippleton Road

The shovels were in the ground, the dignitaries were in place, the firkin was tapped — and after years of planning, discussions and municipal approvals, construction has begun on Empire Brewing Company’s farmstead brewery on Rippleton Road.

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Madison County Tourism names Foothill Hops 2015 Champion of Tourism

Madison County Tourism, the county’s official tourism promotion agency, recently named Foothill Hops as the recipient of the 2015 Emily Marshall Champion of Tourism Award. The award was presented to Kate and Larry Fisher, owners and operators of Foothill Hops, during Madison County Tourism’s annual dinner on April 2 at the Colgate Inn in Hamilton.

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Madison County Farm Bureau donates funds to help local FFA kids attend state convention

Madison County Farm Bureau was pleased to donate over $3,600 to local FFA chapters to help defer the costs of attending the State FFA Convention in May at Morrisville State College. The recent donation was part of their commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by helping develop their potential for leadership and while preserving and protecting agriculture for future generations.

Governor Cuomo announces 59 percent growth in NY craft beer industry in one year

Impact on New York economy is $3.5 billion

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced the craft beer industry in New York State grew 59 percent from 2013 to 2014, with a total economic impact estimated at $3.5 billion. These results, according to a research report prepared for the New York State Brewers Association and the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, are another example of the incredible growth the industry has been seeing.

Madison County seeking dairy princesses

Do you know a young woman residing in Madison County with a passion for the dairy industry? The Madison County Dairy Promotion Committee is currently preparing for the 2015 Madison County Dairy Princess Pageant which is set to be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at the Madison County CCE Agriculture Center, 100 Eaton St., Morrisville. Any girl between the ages of 16 and 24 is eligible to participate with an interest in the dairy industry.

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