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Publisher's View

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

by Herb Carpenter

In this issue of Strictly Business, we look at a variety of North Country businesses – some focused on healthy eating, some on traditional foods and some that offer our favorite bar foods. And we look at two educational programs – one that has changed the way many area school children eat and another that provides training for students interested in careers in the hospitality industry.

Our cover article features Rulfs Orchard, Farm and Bakery/Restaurant, family-owned and operated in Peru, New York since 1952. With eight greenhouses, 15 acres of pick-your-own berries, eight acres of fresh vegetables, 50 acres of corn, 40 acres of apples, a 30-acre seasonal pumpkin patch and, when spring comes around, perennials, annuals and more, it is a mecca for area families.

Farming is dependent on bees which pollinate 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants and 35 percent of crops. To understand how the symbiotic relationship works we offer you a look at beekeeping through the eyes and efforts of Kim Trombly of Mooers.

Have you traveled to Jamaica? Loved its food? Then you are going to want to visit Island Vybz on Clinton Street in downtown Plattsburgh. Owner Showayne Telfer has been making the dishes of his homeland and sharing them with the community since 2020. His cooking skills and his generosity have earned him a strong following. One more terrific ethnic restaurant in our community!

If you recall the cafeteria food of your school days, you will be pleasantly surprised at the changes that have been inspired by the Champlain Valley Educational Services Cafeteria Management Program. Begun in 2015, the plan was to change the way school cafeterias fed the children. Rather than choose between foods they liked and those that were good for them, Julie Holbrook and her staff devised a way to do both. And it worked!! Don’t miss this article!!!

The pandemic had a devastating effect on the hospitality industry and staffing problems continue today. That is where CV-TEC’s Culinary Arts Management Program is proving it worth. Based on a two-year curriculum, supported by the National Restaurant Association, students participate in a full experience which includes classroom study, lab opportunities, mentored work, and hands-on experience. Ninety-eight percent of program graduates go on to higher education or an immediate job in the industry. The Naked Turtle restaurant and bar is the summer place to be in Plattsburgh if you enjoy the lake, good food and an eclectic atmosphere. John Parmelee, a 20-year veteran of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Hotel Restaurant Management Program, brings his expertise to The Turtle each summer and creates a vacation atmosphere for our area.

In any city of a size in the country you will find food trucks lined up to offer all varieties of fare. While that is not the case in our area yet, the trend is starting to catch on. In this issue of SB, we introduce you to two enterprising young women who are creating a buzz.

Our Insight feature this month is Carol McLean, owner of Irises restaurant, which is celebrating 25 years in business on City Hall Place in Plattsburgh this year. McLean is a fixture in the downtown community and renowned for her food and her hospitality.

And then Garry Douglas wraps up this issue with an explanation of all the North Country Chamber of Commerce does to advocate for businesses in our region. For decades Douglas has led our effort to “punch above our weight”. The Chamber’s accomplishments over the years have been legendary and we are confident they will be again in 2023.

This is a great time of year. A time to celebrate the coming of summer and the beauty of our region, to enjoy time outside with family and friends. And it’s a good time to try a new restaurant or two and visit some of your old favorites. Experience the diversity of our cuisine. Do it all!

...and that will be good for business.

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