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Mimi Edelman of I&Me Farm stands in front of a raised bed in Orient (credit: Felicia LaLomia).

Ever wondered how lavender honey gets its fragrance?  The 15th Annual North Fork Foodie Tour takes you right down to the farm to see for yourself.  On Sunday, September 12, a baker’s dozen of local vegetable growers, beekeepers, cheese and meat producers will open their fields, barns and coops to the public for the day, with farmers on hand as tour guides to the extraordinary foods of the North Fork.

After an impressive virtual version in 2020, the event will again be live and in person this year (though masks are required due to COVID precautions). Talks and demonstrations at the Foodie Tour headquarters on the Village Green in Cutchogue will happen at scheduled times throughout the day from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Speakers include Mimi Edelman of I & Me Farm in Orient, who will address the subject of raising and preserving heritage foods.

The North Fork Foodie event was hatched in the well-fed aftermath of a Rosh Hashanah dinner 15 years ago, as a benefit for the North Fork Reform Synagogue.  It’s grown over the years as the North Fork food scene has gotten more exciting and businesses like Browder’s Birds, 8 Hands Farm and Satur Farms have gone from local fledglings to successful businesses with reach outside the region.

Among this year’s new participants is Michael Chuisano, of the Naked Farm in East Marion, who farms a mere ¼ acre using a European method without insecticides and fertilizers. Chuisano raises more than enough vegetables, lettuce, and microgreens on his diversified mini-farm to power his farmstand, and he’ll show you how.

Michael Chuisano of the Naked Farm. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The tour is also an opportunity to see places sacred to North Fork food that the public is rarely allowed to see. This year, Paulette Satur, whose farm sells wholesale (with no farm stand) will take a lucky group right out into the fields where their famous greens and baby vegetables were first grown for New York’s most legendary restaurants.

The much-loved Seps of East Marion, one of the oldest family farms in the area, will finally shed its fig leaf and participate in the North Fork Foodie Tour for the first time this year.

Ellen Zimmerman, co-chair of the North Fork Foodie Tour, said that since the tour began in 2006, “More and more interesting food producers have cropped up; people doing things like growing snails, raising bees, and small farmers who are thriving and doing well.”

She warned that an avid farm-visitor won’t be able to get to every place on tour the course of the day, so it’s vital to plan ahead by using the map of producers on the web site and information on the timing of tours.

Tickets are $30 per person and children 12 and under are free.  Purchase tickets online or at Complement the Chef in Southold, Mattituck Florist or Green Earth Natural Foods in Riverhead, or buy tickets at the Cutchogue Village Green or any Foodie Tour location on the day of the tour.