Sign up for our Newsletter

Northforker June The Agriculture Issue

Okay, I’m just going to say it: Before moving to the North Fork nearly 10 years ago, I didn’t think much about the local land and waters. I rarely considered where my food came from and didn’t understand the weight of preserving what’s left. Once I settled in here those things not only entered my field of vision, but they also became massively important to me. I quickly learned that what you give your attention to grows and I promised to dig deeper. 

One sunny weekend afternoon in those early days, I was on the North Fork Foodie Tour with my husband exploring Satur Farms. Paulette Satur was guiding our tour group through the farm’s fields explaining what they grow and how they grow it. At one point, she encouraged us to pick a sprig of arugula from the field and try it. To this day, it was the most delicious arugula I’ve ever had. But it wasn’t just about the depth of flavor – sharp, peppery and sweet all at once — it was about the connection. That lone bite of arugula tasted like appreciation for the land and the farmers, and a personal vow to consider what comes before the plate. 

Throughout my years living here, I’ve formed a deep connection with many farmers and fishermen, massively in awe of their dedication and perseverance, as agriculture and aquaculture are no easy endeavors, though they are some of the most important ones. I’ve watched the Browder’s flock of heritage Cotswold sheep grow and evolve into heirloom quality clothing bringing their farm mission full circle. (P.84) 

I’ve learned that there are more than just your average holidays when you’re a North Forker and that the first day of Peconic Bay scallop season is a BIG one, integral to the local economy and culture. Sadly, as we’ve watched this aquatic industry face extreme die-off, we look to aquaculture specialists for answers. (P.54) 

And I’ve also become protective over the land, even though it’s not mine. In fact, I didn’t realize just how much I talked about land preservation until a conversation with my daughter one recent Sunday morning as we were driving to breakfast. From the back seat, and out of nowhere, as kids do, she started to speak about how sad it was that houses are being built on farmland. Profoundly affected and with great care, she stated her case: “Farms should be able to stay farms. People need farms for food, bees need farms for food, they do not need to build a house there.” Kindergarteners really know their stuff, huh? I told her that I agree and that there are special people called land preservationists who use their voices to advocate and protect the land. (P.64) I further explained that this type of advocacy can also be a career should she want to be a preservationist in the future. And although she told me that she’ll “stick with wanting to be a horseback riding instructor” it felt so good to know that future generations also consider and care about the land. 

Before being deeply rooted on the North Fork, I would joke that when we did make our move, we’d only have farmers for friends. Fast forward and how lucky are we that that’s partially true and I’m so thankful for it.

— Content Director, Michelina Da Fonte