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Morrisville State College students take business to new level, cook up ideas in class, produce them at Nelson Farms and Ag Incubator

Two products will be introduced at tasting event at Copper Turret May 6 from 4-6 p.m.
MORRISVILLE, NY—Sweet N Spicy Apple Mustard, Apple Splashers—these and other tasty temptations are making their way to consumers’ palates.

The new products join a savory line of goods being cooked up by students in Morrisville State College’s agricultural business development bachelor degree program.

Also making a spicy debut is a new all-purpose seasoning, Apples N Spice and Everything Nice. Consumers can spot the college’s product line under a new label, Morrisville Fresh LLC, a business formed this semester, the operating entity of the Agriculture Business program, which is putting goods within their reach.

They’ll be available this summer at various local farmers markets and also at Nelson Farms, the college’s small-scale food processing plant, where the product line is produced.

Consumers will have a chance to check out two of the new products, Sweet-N-Spicy Apple Mustard and Apples N Spice and Everything Nice, during a tasting event at the Copper Turret Restaurant on West Main Street in Morrisville May 6 from 4-6 p.m.

In addition to adding flavor to local diets, Morrisville Fresh LLC spells opportunities for students and will provide another avenue for local farmers to market their products.

“Students (the LLC) will purchase produce and other commodity products from area farmers, Sheila Marshman, assistant professor of agricultural business, and chair of the Department of Agriculture Science, said. “Students will add value to these products then market them at area farmers’ markets, specialty stores and restaurants.”

Adding value to agriculture commodities means adding value to the rural economy. A goal of Morrisville Fresh is to stimulate the growth and development of the rural economy through the foods system. “With Apple Splashers, for example, apples will continue to be purchased from New York apple growers,” Marshman said. “The grower spends the money in the rural community then value is added to the apple at Nelson Farms through packaging and shelf life extension.”

Morrisville Fresh now offers a line of six savory recipes: Slather Sauce (original, hot, and smoke); Maple Madness, a topping for fruits and ice cream; Pina (pineapple) Salsa; Apple Splashers, sliced apples with caramel dip (made at Nelson Farms) or peanut butter; Sweet N Spicy Apple Mustard; and Apples N Spice and Everything Nice, an all-purpose rub/seasoning. The college’s own hydroponic butter crisp lettuce is also available through the LLC.

To cheese connoisseurs’ delight, cheese curds are also being added to the mix. Students in the Agriculture Business Management class, along with the Morrisville Collegiate Future Farmers’ of America (CFFA) are churning out cheese at the college’s Agribusiness Dairy Incubator. There’s garlic, plain and hot flavors to choose from. A cheese curd route in Madison County is also in the works, along with an online ordering website.

The public will have a chance to purchase Morrisville Fresh LLC products this summer at Hamilton and Chenango farmers’ markets and at the Regional Market in Syracuse, and at the Nelson Farms Country Store, located on Route 20 in Nelson. The Country Store highlights some of the products produced in the kitchens of Nelson Farms in addition to Pride of New York products from all regions of New York state.

“Morrisville Fresh LLC is proving to be an excellent avenue for students to showcase and develop their leadership and managements skills,” Marshman said. “Students are utilizing the financial management skills, their public speaking skills and their team building skills.”

Ag business students are the main ingredient behind Morrisville Fresh LLC. They’re responsible for making the products and seeing them to fruition, from production to labeling and marketing them, with assistance from Nelson Farms.

Dave Evans, director of Nelson Farms, and his staff are assisting with teaching everything from marketing and distribution techniques to working with specialty food products and labeling laws.

“I enjoy working with students very much, teaching them about FDA (Food and Drug Administration) training, Food Safety and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) training, concepts and procedures,” Evans said. “The ability for me to work with them on a one-on-one basis at times is very important.”

Nelson Farms has a statewide marketing program for shelf stable Pride of New York products and offers Morrisville Fresh products throughout the state giving them exposure outside of just central New York.

“This statewide program assists in expanding the Morrisville Fresh products market penetration of these unique products and it also gives exposure to the agriculture programs offered by Morrisville State College,” Evans said.

The overall experience is broadening horizons for Jen Masters, of Marcellus, N.Y., an agricultural business development major who went back to college to learn more about running an agricultural business.

“The classes I am taking are really helping me look at all of the details of producing a product,” Masters said. That includes the marketing, financial, operations, management and human resources aspects that go along with running a business.

Masters, who runs a small farm with her boyfriend in Fabius, N.Y., and plans to work with local farmers servicing their crop needs, has had her hands in a variety of pots at Morrisville. Her involvement at Nelson Farms producing some of the products for Morrisville Fresh has spirited her own entrepreneurial endeavor there.

Masters is producing an old-fashioned country crunch (peanut brittle coated with chocolate and ground nuts) from a 1940 recipe that belonged to her grandmother.

Still in the development phase, she hopes to have her product out this year.

Morrisville has taken Masters even farther. She was chosen to participate in the GROWMARK, Inc., (regional retail farm supply and grain marketing co-op) Internship Program.

Experiences are opening doors for all students involved in the Morrisville Fresh LLC venture.

“Besides rewarding their hard work with extra income from the business’s profits, this enhances students’ educational experience as they learn economics and career skills through these activities,” Marshman said. “By taking an active role in the running of a business, they learn more about economics than they would ever learn sitting in an economics lecture.”

Marshman said the college’s next step is to set up a web page and e-bay store to sell items online.

For more information about the Morrisville Fresh LLC product line, e-mail MorrisvillefreshLLC@morrisville.edu.
Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.

Products Offered through Morrisville Fresh LLC

1. Slather Sauce: original, hot and smoke
2. Maple Madness (a topping for fruits and ice cream)
3. Pineapple Salsa
4. Apple Splashers (sliced apples with caramel dip (made at Nelson Farms), or peanut butter
5. Sweet N Spicy Apple Mustard
6. Apples N Spice and Everything Nice (all-purpose rub/seasoning)
7. Hydroponic butter crisp lettuce


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