Sen. O'Mara honors cheese trail leader
ALBANY--State Senator Tom O'Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) has named Carmella Hoffman, owner and operator of Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, as the 2017 New York State Senate "Woman of Distinction."
Hoffman represented O'Mara's 58th District at the Senate's 19th annual "Women of Distinction" awards ceremony in Albany Tuesday, May 9. She was recognized along with more than 60 other honorees representing senatorial districts from across New York.
O'Mara said, "I look forward to this opportunity every year to say thank you to one of our outstanding area citizens and Carmella Hoffman has certainly earned this recognition. She exemplifies the commitment and quality of Finger Lakes agriculture. Carmella stands for all of our regional producers making enormous contributions to the overall strength and success of New York State's leading agricultural industry. Cheese making has long played an important role in so many upstate New York communities. Thanks to Carmella and the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, it's still going strong and has an exciting and promising future. It's truly an honor for me to have this opportunity to have the New York State Senate pay tribute to Carmella as a 'Woman of Distinction.'"
Carmella and her husband, Ron, operate the 415-acre Hoffman Dairy in Schuyler County. The Hoffman family first settled on this Finger Lakes farm in 1905. Carmella has built the farm's Sunset View Creamery from the ground up since 2004. The farm and creamery are currently operated by the fourth and fifth generations of the Hoffman family, with the sixth generation learning the ropes of farming and cheese production. Carmella remains a driving force behind the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance with Hoffman Dairy serving as the host farm for one of the Finger Lakes region's most anticipated events: the annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival.
O'Mara solicits districtwide nominations for the annual tribute. Hoffman was nominated for this year's tribute by her daughter, Christina, who submitted the nomination on behalf of herself and Hoffman's three other children, Nicole, Jeremy and Valerie.
In a joint statement, the Hoffman children said, "We are so proud of our mom for the selfless acts that she performs every day. She is always putting others before herself, all the while being a wonderful, supportive, caring and loving wife, mother and grandmother. We are honored that she has been chosen for this prestigious award. Our family could not have been blessed with a more wonderful woman to have as a wife, mother and Nonni! We love you and are so happy for you!"
In addition to her work on the farm and at the creamery, Carmella serves as the town clerk/collector and court clerk for the town of Catharine. She has given a lifelong commitment to civic and community service, and has devoted her hard work, leadership and time to numerous groups, causes and organizations including the Odessa Fire Department, Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts and 4-H. She has been the recipient of numerous community, civic and business awards and honors.
The Senate's annual "Women of Distinction" program, which began in March to coincide with Women's History Month in New York State, allows senators statewide to select one honoree from their respective legislative districts for this distinguished, statewide tribute.
O'Mara's past honorees have been:
• 2011, Carol Berry of Hornell, a longstanding regional library professional and director of the Dormann Library in Bath;
• 2012, Virginia "Ginny" Houseknecht of Watkins Glen, a longtime area Cornell Cooperative Extension educator and leader, and founder of the Southern Tier Parkinson's Disease Support Group;
• 2013, Beverly "Bev" Stamp, co-owner and operator of Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen, a long-time and beloved ambassador of New York State's nationally and internationally renowned wine and grape industry; and
• 2014, Lauren R. Snyder, a public health professional from Penn Yan who served as the Yates County Public Health Director for 28 years before retiring in 2009;
• 2015, Linda Thomas, owner and operator of the Wellsburg Diner and recipient of a prestigious "Small Business Excellence Award" from the U.S. Small Business Administration; and
• last year, Dawn R. Smith, Transition and Care Management (TCM) Program Manager at the Bath VA Medical Center and a well-known local veterans advocate.
Carmella remains a driving force behind the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance with Hoffman Dairy serving as the host farm for one of the Finger Lakes region's most anticipated events: the annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival.