All About Yates
Yates County is truly a unique place—a place that is largely an unknown entity within the region and state but sought out by the rest of the world! Yates County is dotted with bucolic farms and boasts trillions of gallons of fresh water but is far and away leading the Finger Lakes region in manufacturing job growth. The county has the cultural diversity where you are likely to see a $100,000 boat being trailered on its way to Keuka Lake passing a horse and buggy. Penn Yan is a community where Mennonite farmers share the same parking lot as Fortune 500 Executives and university presidents. The county has a reputation of being a small, rural community in the middle of nowhere, yet it’s within an hour’s drive of 750,000 people. Yates County may seem difficult to reach, but nearly one million people annually find their way here to enjoy Keuka, Seneca or Canandaigua Lakes or the 100+ craft beverage makers in the county alone.
Formed in 1823, Yates County has been a hub for entrepreneurs since before it was officially settled. Though the county seat, Penn Yan, was at one point nicknamed “Pandemonium” for its scrappy, whiskey-devoted demeanor, the county and its towns have always thrived off of the richness of the land and the abundance of fresh water. From the 19th century’s grist mills and homesteads to today’s vineyards and lake houses, Yates County has continually charmed residents and tourists alike.
The Crooked Lake Canal, which was active between 1833 and 1877, linked the basin of Keuka Lake with the outside world via Seneca Lake and the Erie Canal system.
The prospect of productive and fertile land attracted settlers 200 years ago, and agriculture remains the primary industry in Yates County, especially viticulture and dairy. The county leads the state in organic products. Beyond dairy and production farms, Yates County houses lavender farms, wineries, and numerous food storage and processing facilities that are all certified organic. A number of local outlets carry organic goods for local sale, including wholesale bulk food stores, wineries, the Finger Lakes Produce Auction, and The Windmill Farm and Craft Market.
Click here for more information on Yates County demographics.