06/08/17 6:03am

In an area where some farm families measure their lineage in centuries, new North Fork agricultural operations are launching all the time.

From Wading River to Orient, a handful of startup farms and nurseries plant or sell their first crops each year.

They start off with a business plan and a dream, hoping to carve out their niche in the agricultural legacy of the North Fork.

As the 2017 “summer season” begins, we caught up with three different types of agricultural enterprises that launched a year ago to see where they are heading into their second seasons.

We found them all making adjustments — scaling back in some areas, expanding in others — to refocus their businesses for the future. (more…)

05/31/17 12:49pm

The Long Island Regional Seed Consortium has collected endangered and heirloom variety seeds since 2012. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Since 2012, the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium has been saving thousands of local and international heirloom vegetable seeds, as well as some flowers, with an eye toward preserving a sustainable food culture. But those seeds need a secure home where they can be safely stored, organized and distributed to be grown by generations to come. 

Many of the varieties are “orphaned,” meaning they are the last of their kind, said Cheryl Frey Richards, a co-founder of LIRSC. Some types are endangered due to climate change, growing population, falling water tables and monoculture, according to the LIRSC.

“A lot of people give us seeds in hopes that we will hold them and bring them back,” she said. “We take that very seriously so we wanted to make sure we had a good storage facility for the seeds.” (more…)

04/24/17 1:22pm

While many people might be wrestling with this weed in their garden right now, the dandelion was celebrated at KK’s The Farm this weekend.

A Dandelion Festival, now in its second year, was held at the Southold farm on Sunday, April 23. The festival featured lectures, dandelion food products, a wreath-making station and more.

The event was intended to “raise people’s awareness about the benefits of the dandelion as food medicine and herb,” said farm owner and event organizer Ira Haspel. He said he’d like to see people think twice before applying harmful pesticides to the ground to kill the flower. (more…)

02/23/17 6:05am

At MarGene Farms in Mattituck, you could say the food cycle is bedroom to farm to table.

Farmer Gene Krupski plants artichokes, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables right on his kitchen counter. He begins the process in January and February, when he fills plant cells with soil and seeds and then places the plastic dome-covered cells in his light-filled bedroom.

After the seedlings sprout, they’re moved from the bedroom’s large windows to Mr. Krupski’s en suite bathroom. The fledging plants love the moisture and warmth the shower provides, he said.

“It’s crazy,” Mr. Krupski, who owns his farm with his wife, Maryann, said of the jungle-like conditions in his sleeping quarters. “You can’t even get out of bed. I have plants surrounding us.” (more…)

02/23/17 6:01am
CSA programs offer meal and box-type programs locally. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

CSA programs offer meal and box-type programs locally. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

It’s February, which means we are at the point in the year where we’re furthest away from the taste of juicy, ripe heirloom tomatoes and fresh-off-the-grill corn.

But now is the perfect time to support the farmers who bring us our delicious produce as they prepare for the 2017 growing season.  (more…)