Hanging on the wall of Farmers Kitchen, a new farm goods store in downtown Riverhead that opens Friday, May 20, is an old wooden scythe with a rusty blade.
It’s the same tool used by the grandfather of store co-owner Mark Zaweski, a fourth-generation farmer who operates MKZ Farms in Jamesport. The antique equipment isn’t the only touch of family history in the new store. Perched on a display cabinet filled with jarred goods is a pair of bright green toy tractors, the same ones Mr. Zaweski played with as a kid.
Emilie Zaweski, Mark’s wife and co-owner of Farmers Kitchen, said they are excited to help farmers from across the North Fork pickle and jar their products, offering customers a taste of locally sourced produce and jams even during the off-season.
“Eating local is the healthiest way you can eat,” she said.
The business — located on Main Street in downtown Riverhead, next to Blue Duck Bakery — will hold its grand opening Friday starting at 11 a.m. The business will use produce from the Zaweskis’ farm for jams and pickled food, but will also work with other local growers and farmers like Browder’s Birds, Schmitt Farms and Deer Run to package their goods for sale.
Ms. Zaweski said the company has plans for 80 different products that cycle through the growing seasons, including jams, wine and beer jellies, French dressing, pickled asparagus and spinach pesto. Each will include at least one local ingredient.
“We’re basically a co-packing operation,” she said.
The business has been in the works for a year, she said, and is the couple’s first foray into retail sales. But it’s certainly not their first time producing with local goods, as the family has jarred jams in the past.
The storefront is decorated with plants from the Zaweskis’ greenhouse, as well as rustic touches from the farm stand. A tasting area just inside the entrance will offer selections of the Zaweskis’ products and the Farmers Kitchen will offer classes on cooking with seasonal produce.
Ms. Zaweski also said her grandfather was a French chef, so cuisine comes naturally to her and her husband.
“Cooking is just a way of life for us,” she said.