SLHS graduate enjoys work with Taste NY program

Marcy (Gotzmer) Kugeman, a 1997 graduate of the Saranac Lake High School, is seen here Oct. 5 at Tucker Farms in Gabriels after local, regional and state officials announced the creation of six Adirondack cuisine trails. She works for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

GABRIELS — A 1997 graduate of the Saranac Lake High School came home to the Tri-Lakes region earlier this month to help launch six new Adirondack cuisine trails for Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties at Tucker Farms.

Marcy (Gotzmer) Kugeman now works on the Taste NY program in the agriculture development division at the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. She moved to the Albany area with her former husband, who was a brewer and started brewing in the Tri-Lakes.

“We landed a little south of Albany and I stayed there and eventually got the job at Ag and Markets,” Kugeman said.

Growing up in the Adirondacks, Kugeman said she never really thought much about agriculture as a child.

“You never take advantage of those things when you’re young,” she said. “It wasn’t until I was older that I started to realize the benefits and how lucky we are to grow up here. I would say that my commitment and awareness to agriculture had gotten greater since working at the department.”

Kugeman likes many things about her job.

“This for one,” she said after local, regional and state dignitaries — including New York’s Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball — made the announcement about the Adirondack cuisine trails. She helped set up the event. “I like to be able to promote local agriculture and food and beverages, so it’s really wonderful when something you love to do outside of work coincides with what you do for a living.”

Tucker Farms is located on the Adirondack Lakes Cuisine Trail, which includes farms, food and beverage producers, restaurants and inns in Saranac Lake, Gabriels, Lake Clear, Saranac Inn, Paul Smiths and Tupper Lake.