(April 22, 9:21 a.m.) Add New York to the list of states lining up to do business with Cuba.

New York Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker led a trade delegation to Cuba for a three-day visit, starting April 21.

According to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Empire State ranks second in the nation in production of apples and cabbage and is third in grapes, sweet corn, snap beans and cauliflower. New York, however, does not export any agricultural products to Cuba.

The trade mission could change that.

Hooker was traveling with 19 growers and state agricultural leaders, including Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, Fishers. Apple growers also were represented by Chuck Andola, chief operating officer for United Apple Sales LLC, New Paltz, N.Y. and John Cushing, sales manager of New York Apples Sales Inc., Castelson.

Vegetable grower-shippers involved:

  • Bob Martens of Martens Farms, Port Byron, N.Y.;

  • David Martin of John B. Martin & Sons Farms Inc., Brockport, N.Y.;

  • Tony Piedimonte , owner of James Piedimonte & Sons, Holley, N.Y.; and

  • Craig Yunker, partner in CY Farms LLC, Elba, N.Y.

U.S. shippers have been allowed to send agricultural products to Cuba since 2000. The island nation has a population of about 11 million. More than two dozen states have sent trade missions to Cuba.

“Cuba relies heavily on U.S. imports and has expressed a keen interest in New York food and agricultural products,” Hooker said in a news release. “This trade mission will allow for face-to-face meetings with Cuban buyers and will give our producers another market opportunity — one which if successful, could return significant revenue to the Upstate communities in which these businesses reside.”