The spud may no longer be the North Fork’s staple crop, but hundreds of people celebrated taters and all their variations at the inaugural Long Island Potato Festival at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue on Sunday.
“Before there were Idaho potatoes, there was us,” said Cheryl Sidor, whose family owns North Fork Potato Chips, one of the event’s sponsors. “I was delighted with how many people were aware of and remember the Long Island potato.”
Today the Cutchogue-based company is now the only farm in America to grow and process their own potatoes for chips. And there are only 30 farms growing a total of 3,000 acres of potatoes on the Island, according to Long Island Farm Bureau executive director Joe Gergela. But potato love was in full-swing as event-goers lined up for every variation of potatoes from chip skewers to hop-seasoned French fries at Sunday’s festival.
There were potato sack races, potato spoon races, a mashed potato sculpting contest, a potato peeling challenge and a potato salad competition to keep the revelers entertained.
Loretta Garland of Sayville took home first prize in the salad contest for her red bliss potato salad, a recipe handed down from her mother.
Her secret? She kept it in an insulated bag to keep it fresh.
“The most exciting factor was that it was cold when you brought it to us,” contest judge David Hensley of CJ’s American Grill in Mattituck told her after the competition.
The event benefitted the Alzheimer’s Association.
See photos from the festival below.