08/29/16 6:02am
(Credit: Claire Leaden, file photo)

(Credit: Claire Leaden, file photo)

L.I. Hops, the 43-acre hop farm in Riverhead, will celebrate the 2016 harvest with the first-ever Fresh Hop Festival on Saturday, September 24.

The event will offer samplings of locally brewed beers made with locally grown and harvested hops, many brewed especially for this event. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of beer tasting with a little bit of hop farming education.

L.I. Hops owners Thor Kampher, Tony Caggiano and Melissa Daniels have been growing hops on their farm for the past four years. They now offer five varieties of hops – including Willamette, Columbus, Nugget, Centennial and Magnum. Intended to become an annual event, the Fresh Hop Festival will be a venue for attendees to sample and learn more about local and regional brewers using homegrown hops. Attendees will also have the unique opportunity to taste versions of fresh hop beers alongside the traditional versions of the same beer.

Fresh hops, or wet hops, is the process of taking hops fresh off the bine (that’s what hop vines are called) and using them within 24 hours of being picked.

“What a unique experience for local beer lovers to come to an event and see how local breweries like mine are using local hops in everyday production and taste the unique flavors offered by a fresh hopped beer,” Long Ireland Beer Company owner Greg Martin said. “It will be a great showcase of the farming and brewing culture on Long Island,” he added.

Local brewers will be on hand to explain their creations. There will also be live music performed by local singer/songwriter Dan Donnelly, food for purchase and educational seminars.

The Fresh Hop Festival will take place on Saturday, September 24 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at LI Hops, located at 5873 Sound Avenue in Riverhead. Tickets are $40 and are on sale now at lifreshhopfestival.com.

Due to the finite availability of these beers, tickets are limited and are being sold on a first come, first served basis. Designated driver tickets are also available for $10 and do not include any sampling. No one under 21 will be permitted and valid photo ID is required for entry.

08/29/16 6:01am
Sophia Blydenburgh, 4, of Miller Place at Spirit's Promise Horse Farm and Rescue Center. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Sophia Blydenburgh, 4, of Miller Place at Spirit’s Promise Horse Farm and Rescue Center. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

If you have young children, you know that hands-on activities are fun, educational and encourage them to pay attention. Add animal interactions to the equation and you have yourself a memorable, super-successful family outing.

Whenever I plan a day trip with my daughter, who is about to turn 5 years old, animals (and most of the time, fish) must be the focus of our outing. Opportunities to meet and pet a goat or feed stingrays are satisfying experiences for all of us — Mom, Dad and daughter alike.

Here are some North Fork locations we recommend to help you and your family get that animal fix. (more…)

08/29/16 6:01am
Credit: @northforkgrown

Credit: @northforkgrown

We’re humbled that each week dozens of local photographers and North Fork enthusiasts think of us when posting to Instagram using #northforker.

Your photos inspire us to do better work and to appreciate this beautiful place so many visit each week and some are lucky enough to call home.

Here’s the week in #northforker. Follow us @the_northforker to see our own travels across the North Fork each week.

And don’t forget about our #nofostateofmind contest, which we’re running along with @WEHMradio, for a chance to win awesome prizes.

To enter, share a photo on Instagram depicting what you love about summer on the North Fork. Caption it with your favorite summer song and the hashtag #nofostateofmind. Click here for more info.

Each weekly prize includes tickets to a local event or attraction, and the winner also becomes eligible for the grand prize of a two-night stay and dinner at American Beech in Greenport along with a VIP tour and tasting at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue.

08/28/16 1:19pm
(Credit: David Benthal)

Rosemary Martilotta, center, teaches a yoga class. (Credit: David Benthal)

Here are the seven most read posts this week on northforker.com. To keep up with food, wine, real estate and lifestyle news on the North Fork, like us on Facebook, check out our Instagram page (@The_Northforker) and follow @northforker1 on Twitter. (more…)

08/28/16 12:34pm
Greek Bites Grill in Mattituck will close for good on Sunday. Aug. 28. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Greek Bites Grill in Mattituck will close for good on Sunday. Aug. 28. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Mattituck residents will once again have to leave their hamlet for souvlaki, falafel and rotisserie gyro.

Greek Bites Grill, which opened a location in the Mattituck Plaza shopping center in January 2015, will close its doors permanently after today, Aug. 28.

“It’s emotional,” owner Dimitra Laopodus said from behind the counter on Sunday. “Sometimes you just have to count your blessings and move on.” (more…)

08/28/16 6:00am

Farmer Walter Hodun Jr. said picking a bushel (50 pounds) goes fast because the fruit is clustered together and plants are two feet apart. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

I talked to farmer Eddie Hodun Jr. at his 10-acre U-pick farm in Calverton this week and he pointed out that this is “the kick-off week” for tomatoes, especially for the variety of tomatoes many people want to make fresh sauce. He explained that the weather has been just hot enough “it brings out the sugar in the fruit.” (more…)