In an upcoming presentation at Cayuga Community College, author Jim Farfaglia will revisit Nestlé’s rich history in Fulton, from the advent of the beloved Crunch Bar to becoming the largest chocolate-producing factory in North America.
Known for his books memorializing Oswego County history, Farfaglia will discuss his 2018 work “Nestlé in Fulton, New York: How Sweet It Was” in a free March 13 presentation on Cayuga’s Fulton Campus. The presentation is scheduled for 11 a.m. in Room F176.
An avid writer of local history, Farfaglia had an up-close look at the devastating impact of the factory’s closure in 2003. But it was seeing the city tear down the former factory several years ago that pushed him to begin telling the story of Nestlé’s operation in Fulton.
As Farfaglia saw it, even in its demolished state those buildings were a part of the city’s history, and someone needed to tell that story.
“For many people, myself included, those buildings had been our cityscape for much of our lives. And then they were gone, and I felt that what had been there before needed to be documented,” he said. “Just because we were sad about what happened, didn’t mean we should forget about all the amazing work our friends and neighbors did at Nestlé.”
He spent several years researching Nestlé, reviewing documents, photographs and news articles, and interviewing more than 70 former employees before Arcadia Publishing released “Nestlé in Fulton, New York: How Sweet It Was” in 2018.
The book details Nestlé’s full Fulton story, from the company establishing its operation in Fulton, its legendary success and its ultimate closure. It also details the local aftermath, when the community and the company helped workers transition to new careers or continue their education.
Farfaglia hoped that writing the factory’s full history would remind people of the pride the city felt and still should feel about the accomplishments of Nestlé’s Fulton workers.
His March 13 presentation will include dozens of digitized historic photos of the Nestlé operation, and will have the same focus as his book: A remembrance of the good times, when the air smelled like chocolate and the factory was still in operation.
“It’s still a very emotional topic, because of what it meant when the factory closed in 2003. There’s no denying that. At the same time, there’s an amazing history here that I think we’ve forgotten — the products that were invented, the amount of chocolate that was made,” said Farfaglia. “I want to focus on what that meant for our local pride.”
For more information on Farfaglia, visit his website.
About Cayuga Community College
Founded in 1953, Cayuga Community College is one of 64 accredited institutions that make up the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Cayuga offers open access and an affordable gateway to higher education, with courses and degree programs offered at campuses in Auburn and Fulton, NY and online. Cayuga Community College provides a strong liberal arts foundation for further study and career preparation. The College also addresses identified community needs through targeted training and personal enrichment programs. By sustaining academic excellence within a supportive learning environment, the College, a careful steward of human and fiscal resources, serves as a valuable asset to the development of our local, regional, and global communities.