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tomato fest garden of eve

Photo by Cyndi Murray

tomato festival garden of eve

While the North Fork has become synonymous with the definition of a farming region, it has not yet been able to boast its very own “North Fork” tomato, known and advertised industry-wide by name.

Two locals are working to change that.

Mattituck farmer Stephanie Gaylor has teamed up with renowned chef Gerry Hayden of Southold restaurant North Fork Table & Inn to breed a new variety of tomato they hope will display the region’s characteristics.

Ms. Gaylor, who has been growing unique and ancient varieties of fruits and vegetables for Mr. Hayden to incorporate into his dishes, said the plan is to create a variety of tomato through pollination and natural selection that flourishes when planted in the region’s soils. While she worries about the science, Mr. Hayden is focusing on taste, ensuring the North Fork’s terroir is appropriately represented.

“Everybody knows the San Marzano tomato [from Italy],” she said. “Wouldn’t that be great if we had that here in New York?”

Locals will have to wait a while to taste the variety, as it will take about seven more years to yield a stable, predictable fruit year after year.