For Immediate Release
Contact: Duncan Crary 274-2723
TROY, N.Y. (08/29/13) — This Friday, a Troy wine bar will serve cheddar cheese that was literally shipped by water from Kewaunee, Wisc. to the small Hudson River city.
“A lot of cheese used to move by barge on the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Troy, but that was a long time ago. And I don’t know if Wisconsin cheese has ever been shipped to Troy by tugboat,” said Troy-based author Duncan Crary. “We may have made history here.”
For one night only, Lucas Confectionery will serve a “Margot Flight” of the 2-year, 6-year and 10-year Wisconsin cheddar cheese. The “vertical flight” of cheese is named after the Tugboat Margot that transported this edible cargo from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River (the name is also a nod to the “Waterford Flight” of locks on the Erie Canal, which connects the Hudson River to the Great Lakes).
The Margot, a 90 ft. “super canaller,” is one in a fleet of four tug boats that belong to the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co., a commercial shipping outfit based in Troy, N.Y.
When Crary first learned that that the Troy tugboat would be sailing to Wisconsin, he convinced the owners of Lucas Confectionery and Marine Highway to ship back some of the cheese that the state is known for.
As an author, Crary is profiling Marine Highway for a book about the present and future of canal shipping. He also works as a media consultant for Lucas Confectionery.
“This was a fun way to team up two Troy-based businesses to show what we can accomplish in our spunky little Hudson River city,” Crary said of shipping the cheese to his hometown. “I hope this historic food adventure will inspire people to learn more about the potential for inland water shipping in New York State.”
The Margot made the approx. 2,200-mile roundtrip journey to transport a barge carrying 880 tons of concrete castings to Kewaunee. Tugboats and barges specialize in moving this type of industrial cargo, called “heavy lift,” because it weighs too much and is often too large to transport by tractor-trailer or train.
Though the small shipment of cheese on the return trip was a fun favor among local businesses, Marine Highway does ship large quantities of food by canal. The company frequently tugs barges of corn and soy from the Toronto area across Lake Ontario to Oswego. Later this season, the company may transport barges of Canadian wheat from Ontario to the Hudson Valley.
This Friday, schedule permitting, the Margot will be moored along the seawall at Monument Square, just a half block from Lucas Confectionery. Members of the Marine Highway team plan to be at Lucas Confectionery to sample the Wisconsin cheddar and speak with interested patrons about how they brought it here.
“We had really good lake weather,” said Tim Dufel, who served as engineer on the Margot during its trip to Wisconsin. “There were a couple half days with three to five footers” (i.e. waves).
Dufel is co-owner of Marine Highway and plans to be at the Confectionery this Friday during Troy Night Out. But in tug boating, the schedule is always subject to change, he said.
Tugboat Cheddar Night concludes a weeklong celebration of Made-in-the U.S.A. cheese at Lucas Confectionery. Also on the menu are locally made artisanal cow, goat and sheep cheeses from neighboring Washington County and Vermont farms.
“Some of the best cheese in the world is made in America,” said Confectionery Co-owner Vic Christopher. “This is our tribute to all the hard working cheese makers in our country.”
TUGBOAT CHEDDAR NIGHT
@ LUCAS CONFECTIONERY
Who: Troy Tugboaters & Author Duncan Crary
What: “Margot Flight,” special menu item feat. Wisconsin cheese
Where: Lucas Confectionery, 12 Second St., Troy, N.Y.
When: 5 p.m. till 8 p.m., Friday Aug. 30
Why: Kick off Labor Day Weekend with tribute to American sailors and cheesemakers.
THE MARGOT’S ROUTE
The Tugboat Margot sailed the following route from Troy, N.Y. to Kewaunee, Wisc.:
Hudson River to Erie Canal to Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario to Welland Canal to
Lake Erie to Detroit River to Lake St. Clair to St. Clair River to Lake Huron to Lake Michigan.
The entire roundtrip took 13 days. A crew of five-sailors worked around the clock in six-hour shifts. The average speed was eight miles per hour. Top speed was 14 miles per hour.
For photos of the Margot’s voyage to Wisconsin, and a map of the route, visit: http://DuncanCrary.com/clients/tugboatcheese.html
New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co.:
Crary’s multimedia canal project:
The 2013 Waterford Tugboat Roundup is Sept. 6, 7, 8
The Vermont Sail Freight Project plans to transport Vermont foodstuffs to Troy, N.Y. and the Hudson Valley via Champlain Canal this September. http://vermontsailfreightproject.org
Contact Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723, for additional information and to schedule interviews.