For decades, foodies have flocked to the North Fork to partake in many of the region’s signature culinary delights. While we can’t list them all, here is our A to Z guide to food on the North Fork.
As the weather starts to cool, you won’t have to look far for a soothing cup of freshly made apple cider. Stop for a taste of old-fashioned sweet cider at Hallock Cider Mill in Jamesport. Find it hot, cold or even frozen at Breeze Hill Farms in Peconic, taste an array of different hard ciders at Riverhead Ciderhouse or try the Champagne-like, traditional hard ciders at Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue.
If there’s one pie place people know on the North Fork, it’s likely Briermere Farms in Riverhead. During the high season, you’ll find a long line stretching across the front of the farmstand for their mouthwatering fresh fruit and specialty pies, all made from scratch right on the premises. Try the raspberry cream pie — made from the farm’s own raspberries, billowy layers of cream, and a perfectly flaky crust.
For almost six decades, the Center for Advocacy, Support, and Transformation has been fighting food insecurity and addressing other crucial needs among the North Fork community. Located in Southold, CAST operates a food pantry three days a week, stocked with fresh produce and other healthy food options year-round. CAST also collaborates with local farmers to organize several fresh produce programs, ensuring that vulnerable families have consistent access to seasonal local fruits and vegetables.
From the minor-league baseball team to the infamous roadside attraction, it’s no secret that Long Island has a history with ducks. For decades, Long Island reigned as the duck capital of the United States. In the early 1960s, according to a 2009 Suffolk County report, Long Island duck farms were producing about 7.5 million ducks annually, providing about two-thirds of ducks consumed by the entire country. In the 1970s, duck farming on Long Island began to dwindle as environmental regulations put pressure on farms. Today, the North Fork is home to Long Island’s last remaining duck farm, Crescent Duck in Aquebogue.
EAST END FOOD
Every Saturday morning in Riverhead, local farmers, chefs and artisans gather underneath a large white tent to sell their goods. But East End Food is more than just a farmer’s market. It’s an organization offering several programs to create more equitable and sustainable food systems on the East End of Long Island. What started as a winter market to provide farmers with a revenue stream during the off-season now operates year-round. The organization is in the process of constructing a new building that will not only continue to promote locally grown produce and goods but will provide a space for craft artisans to turn that produce into products. East End Food also offers a variety of classes and educational, interactive events throughout the week.
Chef John Ross opened Ross’ North Fork Restaurant in Southold over 50 years ago, spearheading the farm-to-table movement on the North Fork. He put the region on the map with for a culinary scene with a unique approach to supporting the local agriculture-based economy. While Ross’ restaurant is no longer around, it paved the way for numerous chefs and tastemakers to source both produce and protein from the diverse selection of farmstands across the North Fork.
The North Fork’s maritime climate and sandy soil create ideal conditions for cultivating an array of grape varietals. Among the most popularly planted grapes in the region are chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet franc. The viticulturists of the North Fork’s wine country also embrace innovation and experimentation with winemakers at vineyards like Bedell Cellars, Suhru Wines, and Chronicle Wines introducing new grape varieties and exploring new sustainable practices with their winemaking.
What’s sweeter than local North Fork honey? Lavender by the Bay, North Breeze Farms, Promise Land Apiaries, Blossom Meadow Farm, and Andrews Family Farm are just a few of our favorite spots to get a hold of some of this golden nectar. During the harvest season, Chris Kelly of Promise Land Apiaries also hosts honey harvest parties, inviting participants to learn about the honey production process and take part in the harvest.
It’s an age-old debate: Magic Fountain vs. Snowflake — or maybe you prefer Dari-Land or the Greenport Creamery. Home to many long-standing institutions of frozen dairy delights, the North Fork knows how to make ice cream.
What better way to savor the bounty of the North Fork’s harvest than with jam? Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue, Blossom Meadow Farm in Cutchogue, Hallock’s Cider Mill in Jamesport, and Schmitt’s Farm Stand on Sound Avenue in Riverhead are just a few of our favorite spots that offer exceptional jams.
A nod to the North Fork’s strong ties to Polish heritage, kielbasa holds a special place in the hearts of locals, and you’ll find this beloved smoked sausage at many delicatessens throughout the area. You can also order kielbasa at The Birchwood of Polish Town in Riverhead, a local restaurant and pub that has been cooking up Polish staples since 1934.
Regardless if your favorite is from Love Lane Kitchen, Southold Fish Market or Braun’s Kitchen, there’s no shortage of this seafood staple across North Fork menus.
MODERN SNACK BAR
When you pass the iconic marquee sign, you know you’ve reached the North Fork. Modern Snack Bar has been serving classic home cooking for over 80 years. With “world-famous” lemon meringue pie, soft-shelled crab sandwiches and roasted duck, Modern Snack Bar has cemented itself as a North Fork mainstay.
NORTH FORK TABLE & INN
If you’re a food enthusiast visiting the North Fork, you won’t want to miss the chance to dine at this renowned establishment, owned by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser. The acclaimed chef and his hospitality group, JF Restaurants, took over the restaurant in 2020, honoring the original vision of former owners chef Claudia Fleming and her late husband, Gerry Hayden, by showcasing the local land and waters with farm-to-table dishes.
Whether you shuck your own at Little Creek or pick up a dozen from a roadside cooler, you can get your oyster fix filled across the North Fork. These shelled delicacies can be found easily if you know where to look.
Come fall, the North Fork’s pumpkin patches draw hundreds in pursuit of the perfect pumpkin. From big to small, warty to smooth, a wide range of pumpkin varieties are grown by our local farmers. One notable variety is the Long Island Cheese pumpkin, a unique heirloom variety with a slightly sweet, buttery texture that makes it popular for baking and a staple of many pumpkin pie recipes.
With so many egg stands around the North Fork, several chefs have been inspired to showcase these local poultry products with homemade quiches. At Ali Katz Kitchen in Mattituck, chef Alison Katz uses eggs from nearby Browder’s Birds to whip up warm and comforting seasonal quiches. Other places to enjoy these savory egg tarts include Southold General in Southold and Goodfood. in Mattituck.
Nothing says summer quite like roasted corn on the North Fork. One of many spots to get the buttery farm staple is Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. The farm began selling roasted sweet corn roadside on Route 48 in 1989 and has since developed a devoted fan base. Every year at the end of July, as a tribute to the beloved crop, Harbes Family Farm hosts a sweet corn festival with live music, barnyard games, and a corn-eating contest. Of course, roasted sweet corn is served — as well as the farm’s corn ice cream!
From 1610 Bakehouse’s country sourdough to Jamesport Sourdough & Coffee Company’s chocolate loaves, you can’t go wrong with fresh, local sourdough bread.
From Tiger Blush to Roma and Sungolds, we think the North Fork has some of the best tomatoes in the world, and we’ll stand by it!
Strawberries in June, blueberries in July, apples in September, pumpkins in October — there’s no shortage of U-pick farms on the North Fork.
In 1973, Alex and Louisa Hargrave became pioneers of the wine industry when they committed to planting vinifera grapes on their Cutchogue land. Fifty years later, the North Fork has become home to over 50 wineries and tasting rooms and is one of the most recognized viticulture hubs on the East Coast.
You can find an abundance of juicy watermelons at many North Fork farmstands. Find traditional seeded watermelons at Krupski’s Farm in Peconic or a rainbow of organic red, yellow and orange at Sang Lee Farms. Fun fact: watermelon was the first type of produce sold at Sang Lee Farms.
Okay, so this one is a bit of a stretch, but when the holidays come around, you can expect many North Fork bakeries and home bakers to be serving up an abundance of Christmas cookies. Some of our favorites include festively decorated shortbread at Blue Duck Bakery and gingerbread from Gingerbread University, where you can build and decorate your own gingerbread house.
A delicious farm-fresh product that’s not as often talked about on the North Fork is local yogurt. Dairy farms like Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic and Goodale Farms in Riverhead offer their own, along with a variety of other dairy products ranging from cheese to goat’s milk.
Find this summery vegetable on plenty of menus and at farmstands throughout the season. And if you see squash blossoms on the menu, don’t pass them up — trust us!