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Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
A calf born this spring at North Quarter Farm in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

When I learned earlier this week that President Obama signed a law Monday making bison the first national mammal, I  decided to pay a visit to Riverhead’s own herd at North Quarter Farm on Roanoke Avenue.

There, owner Ed Tuccio drove me around as I stood safely on the bed of his big black pickup to get a better view of these magnificent creatures grazing and lunching on hay in one of the vast pastures of his 250 acres.

Tuccio, owner of Tweed’s Restaurant and Buffalo Bar in downtown Riverhead and Fishel Tuccio Real Estate, has had a fondness for bison for years. He and his wife, Dee Muma, started North Quarter Farm in 1978.

“We bought every farm around because we knew land would be too expensive one day,” he said. “We started with horses, then some cows, corn and added the bison.”

The herd now numbers around 300.

Two calves have been born at the farm this spring — one just this past Tuesday — and he is expecting between 75 and 90 this season. He celebrates this time of year with a calf-naming contest and all you have to do is stop in at the restaurant to fill out an entry form and submit it. If your baby bison name is chosen you will win a $100 Tweed’s gift card.

When asked why it took so long to make the bison a national mammal, Tuccio said, “We killed 60 million in 60 years. We didn’t treat this majestic creature with much respect.”

“I never dreamed bison would have affected my life the way they have,” he added. “The native people believe the bison give their life so you can live your life. I believe it, too.”

See more photos below.

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Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch

Your North Fork Sunday Scene features weekly snapshots of life on Long Island’s top fork.

Previous North Fork Sunday Scenes:

Rainy days at Biophilia Organic Farm

Blooming in Baiting Hollow

Riding in Laurel

Spring plowing at Sang Lee Farms

Baby chicks in Riverhead

Early spring blooms

Peacocks in Southold

Roaming the pasture at McCall Vineyards and Ranch

A Southold ‘Renaissance’ man

Winter at the Beach

Sunset over the Sound

An early harbinger of spring

A field of geese? Look again

A North Fork snow day

A New Suffolk Ave. sunset drive

Icicles form at Iron Pier Beach

Birds of many feathers in Riverhead

Blanket-wrapped horses

Katahdin sheep in Jamesport

Late fall harvest at Andrews Family Farm

Feisty Acres quail farm

Fall art in the fields

North Fork fall foliage

Healing with Horses

Harvest is coming

CSA pickup day at Biophilia

A postcard from Love Lane

Bring on summer

A stroll down Oregon Road

‘Zenful’ flowers in Baiting Hollow

Hello from this North Fork mama and her babies

North Fork asparagus is here

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