Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

April 06, 2016

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces New Taste NY Partnership with Baldor Specialty Foods

Premiere Food Distributor to Support Taste NY Businesses and Products Through Pledge Local Program
More than 400 Restaurants Have Taken the Taste NY Pledge

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that Taste NY is partnering with Baldor Specialty Foods, the East Coast’s premiere food distributor, to support the growth of local agribusinesses and farms.  As part of this partnership, Baldor will support the Taste NY Restaurant Pledge through its own newly launched Pledge Local program to increase the use of New York grown and produced products at restaurants and businesses throughout the state.  This partnership will be celebrated at the Baldor BITE event today that brings together more than 1,500 chefs, restaurateurs and other industry members for tastings, cooking demos, contests, breakaway educational sessions and more.

“Baldor’s Pledge Local program complements the ongoing efforts of Taste NY to promote locally made food products and spur economic growth for our vital agricultural industry,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “This pledge bridges local growers and producers with the restaurants and businesses that help share their products with consumers from every part of the state and beyond.”

“The Local Pledge is our turnkey solution for chefs who want to buy local, but don’t have the time, labor or funds to make it happen”, said Ben Walker, Baldor’s Director of Marketing.  “We share so many goals with Taste NY and this partnership is a powerful way to reinforce each other.  We’re looking forward to a year of major growth for New York State products.”  

Baldor’s Pledge Local program makes it easier for restaurants to support local businesses. Through the program, customers authorize Baldor’s team of expert buyers to substitute commodity items with similarly priced local alternatives whenever possible.  The company has already received commitments from major industry players and has identified nearly 500 customers who have the potential to benefit from the program. 

Through its partnership with Taste NY, Baldor’s website and Pledge Local webpage,, will promote and feature an opportunity for their customers to take the Taste NY Pledge, encouraging restaurants to increase the sourcing, marketing and education of New York State grown and made products. By signing the Taste NY Pledge, restaurants and chefs promise to expand their use of New York State products by ten percent or more.

New York State will also promote Baldor’s Pledge Local program on its Taste NY website,, social media channels, and on the Taste of NY pledge sign up page at

More than 400 restaurants are now signed up for the Taste NY Pledge.  Each chef and/or restaurant participating in the initiative has pledged to:

  • Increase by 10 percent or more the sourcing of New York State grown and made products and ingredients, including products from New York’s food and beverage producers,
  • Feature, highlight and increase by 10 percent wines, beers, spirits, ciders and other locally produced beverages on their drink menus,
  • Introduce New York-themed dishes made with locally sourced and seasonal products,
  • Consistently communicate their commitment with suppliers, peers and the public to encourage more support of New York State food and beverages, and
  • Educate staff and maintain knowledge of New York State’s locally grown and made products.

A list of companies that have signed the Taste NY Pledge can be found at

Vendors can easily find Baldor customers who have taken the Pledge. After participants become certified through Baldor, they will be featured on a digital map on the company’s website.   

“Our certification process is unique in that we rely exclusively on sales data to verify local supporters”, noted Baldor CEO TJ Murphy.  “We base our approval not on what customers say, but on what they buy.  We think that this information will be game-changing for diners and businesses alike.”

In addition, this year, Taste NY will have a presence at the Baldor BITE event in New York City where more than 1,500 chefs, restaurateurs and other industry will be encouraged to take both Baldor’s Local Pledge as well as the Taste NY Pledge, actively supporting New York State agricultural products and beverages.

About Baldor Specialty Foods

Baldor Specialty Foods is one of the largest importers and distributors of fresh produce and specialty foods in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Beginning as Balducci’s fruit stand in Greenwich Village in 1946, Baldor maintains its original promise curate and deliver the best and freshest foods in the world. Baldor seeks to provide great specialty foods and logistics that give their customers an edge. To learn more or to take the Baldor Local Pledge, go to

About Taste NY

Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair. The program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops along the state’s highways and in transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. Approximately 1,100 local companies have participated in these opportunities, further linking their products and the state’s growing food and beverage market to consumers from across the globe. For more information about Taste NY, please visit Connect with Taste NY through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

2016 Press Releases