Barans Win Annual State Farmer Contest
NY Farms!, a not for profit organization whose mission is to strengthen NY agriculture and food systems, announced the winners of the Third Annual NY Farms! I Love My NY Farmer contest and recognized Steve and Helen Baran of Baran’s Vineyards of Westfield, as winners in the Wine & Grape category.
Winners for the I Love MY NY Farmer awards were selected based upon the notation in the entry of a farmer’s: living and selling within New York State; producing quality product; being a good steward of the land; being a good neighbor; serving the community; and “going the extra mile”. The NY Farms! nomination asked to have explained in 250 words or less, why a particular farmer deserves such an award.
Farming 180 acres of vineyards in Westfield, New York, the Barans are recognized as outstanding farmers, actively engaged in the local community. Their passion for farming extends beyond their own Concord grapes used for juices, jams and other grape products. Helen is the President of the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, a 170 member organization working for Concord grape belt area economic development, and Steve is President of Growers Cooperative Juice Co., Inc and is Chairman of the Chautauqua County Farmland Protection Board.
Both Steve and Helen have extensive involvements in agriculture and community. Steve has served on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County Board of Directors, the Lake Erie Regional Grape Extension Advisory Committee, on the Westfield Agricultural Districts Committee, the Westfield Rotary Club, the Rotary International Program, and much more.
Helen has served as a director on the Westfield Memorial Hospital Board, the NYS Board of Equalization and Assessments, and the Women In Agriculture Committee. The Barans are also participants in a national initiative, sponsored by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, focusing on innovative approaches to utilizing rural assets in economic development.
“The reason I love my NY farmers Helen and Steve Baran,” said Andy Dufresne who nominated the Barans, “is because they are really nice people! They are pleasant, enjoyable, enthusiastic people to be with and exemplify the best of NY farmers. Not only do they produce high quality grapes on their very attractive farmstead, they also nurture the region with their passion and dedication, supporting opportunities for so many others in the Lake Erie region.”
Other farmers honored were: dairy farmers Carmella and Ron Hoffman of Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, NY; livestock farmer Maureen Barger of Newark Valley, NY; Calvin and Floyd Winkstern, field crop farmers from Del Mar Farms in Batavia and Dan Guenther of Brook Farm in New Paltz in the fruits and vegetables category.
“There were so many wonderful entries” commented one judge, “and without knowing these individuals, we had to rely on the essays that showed a well-rounded individual, committed not just to his/her farming operation, but showed commitment to the neighbors and the community at large.”
“Overall the winners can be described as optimistic despite the hardships and challenges”, said Martha Goodsell, Director of NY Farms!. “They are described as generous, thoughtful and helpful by their customers and neighbors. It is with sincere gratitude and appreciation for their noted contributions that NY Farms! and the people of New York recognize these winners and all those who are nominated for the Third Annual I Live My NY Farmer Award.