AALP Class 14's North American Study Tour began at the Rural Ontario Institute office, at the EastGen facility Guelph where we boarded our bus. After a quick stop to pick up some of our remaining classmates in Niagara-on-the-Lake we were back on the road.
Our first stop was in Geneva, NY where we toured the New York State Agriculture Research Station with Marc Smith (LEAD Class 2). We started the tour with a very informative talk from Kevin Maloney on apple propagation, learned about ‘red fresh’ apples, and the trials and tribulations about the newest New York apple varieties. Next up on the tour was viticulture and learning about the issues in grape genetics with Bruce Reisch. The final stop here was with Chris Gerling for a tour of the food processing development center which ended in the brewery and wine research facility...always a class favorite. Although informative, the class was happy to return to the air conditioned bus to get out of the sweltering heat that is engulfing the area.
Next on the tour was a stop in Mecklenburg to tour Finger Lake’s Farmstead cheese. Nancy Tabor Richards a small artisan cheese maker exposed us to the difference in regulations between Canadian versus U.S. processing as we toured her entire facility. Raw milk processing, unlimited production and labeling were just some of the differences the class noted. After loading up on some cheese it was back on the road.
Our last stop was Ithaca, NY. But not before a quick stop for a group photo in front of the Buttermilk Falls. From there it was on to dinner where we met some past and present classmates from the New York LEAD program at the Mia restaurant. This provided the class with an opportunity to network with some members that we would see again in October at our Ottawa seminar.
The day ended at our hotel for some well needed rest to prepare us for a full day two.
Aneka Legault, Michael Menzi, Gerard Pynenburg - Class 14