08/21/17 6:01am
Beach plums freshly picked from the beach (All pictures by Monique Singh-Roy)

Beach plums freshly picked from the beach (All pictures by Monique Singh-Roy)

This story was originally published in October 2016. We are reposting it in anticipation of beach plum season.

Beach plums aren’t typically found in supermarkets, but the fruit — which looks more like supersized blueberry or grape than a plum — makes some of the most flavorful jam I’ve ever tasted.

Since Colonial times, and likely before, the wild fruit, which grows on the North and South forks, has been harvested to make preserves, jams and jellies. According to Cornell University, which undertook a nearly 20-year project to establish the beach plum as a commercial crop, it’s native to the Northeastern U.S. (more…)

08/11/17 6:01am

In the 1960s, Southold Town was home to approximately 100 farmers, most of them focused on growing potatoes.

Now the only potato farmer left in Peconic, Gene Wesnofske is celebrating his 50th year in business at Wesnofske Farms.

“I’m happy that we’ve lasted this long,” he said. “This is a tough business. When we moved out here in ’67, there was probably, in Southold Town, there might have been like 100 farmers … now we’re down to a handful from the Mattituck line to Orient … So to survive 50 years is a great accomplishment and to have my family behind me and helping out is even greater.” (more…)

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…)