New York Commissioner of Ag Richard Ball and Ed Fairweather of Wessels’ Farms pose for a photo at the start of the show.

The celebrated Empire State Producers Expo (ESPE) returned to the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY, this year, bringing with it three full days of important trade show connections and illuminating educational sessions. This year’s expo, organized by the Trade Show Division of Lee Newspapers Inc., took place Jan. 14 – 16.

Designed for fruit, vegetable, direct marketing and flower industry growers and professionals, the 2020 ESPE featured over 100 exhibitors, more than 60 informational sessions (many including recertification credits) and a spacious trade show floor for easy networking. The third day of the expo was especially useful for those considering getting into growing hemp, with three ballroom-sized sessions full of attendees.

This potato planter, available from White’s Farm Supply, drew lots of attention.

“We were very happy with mix of exhibitors, and happy to be back at the Oncenter this year,” said Dan Wren of Lee Newspapers. “It’s a great location for the trade show and lectures, and the host hotel worked out well. We had a number of social opportunities and hope to have more networking events in the future.” He added that attendance was great this year, with many attendees following ESPE with NOFA-NY. “We look forward to the show continuing to grow and improve and serve all the producers in New York State.”

ESPE is an annual affair that is constantly adapting to changing markets and growing with its varied producers. For more information about the show, email or Dan Wren at

Aimee Glenister talks with Ron Spadaform about the use of beneficial insects at his farm.

Tom Daris with MicroBiometer explains their microbe testing kit.

Randy Dole offered tastings of the many sauces, dressings and jams available from Farmer’s Choice.

Jason Plate goes over Bejo’s seed varieties with Jack Keeton.

John Werder (far left) and John Wilhelm (far right) look over the latest equipment from BCS with attendees.

Bill Reiss and Paul Licata of BDI Machinery discuss the benefits of Infaco pruners with Jay Freer.

Sam Evans (center) talks about the benefits of Omex fertilizer with attendees.

Noelle and Eric Smassanow talk with Tina Lemly of Niagara Labels about labels for their specialty food products.