07/24/18 6:05am

Jenna Stankaitis of Calverton gets her face painted at a recent Love Lane First Fridays.

As I scroll through Instagram and Facebook, I’m seeing a lot of beautiful landscapes, ice-cream-smeared grins, and flat tires on mountain roads. It’s high season for family vacations, the American ritual of piling into planes, trains and automobiles for destinations both unknown and well-worn.

But you won’t see far-flung travel photos on North Fork Family social media. The gorgeous vistas are cumulus clouds over Little Peconic Bay and the treeline across acres of fields at Hallockville Museum Farm. The smeared ice cream is from Magic Fountain. The flat is being patched at Eastern Tire. We aren’t going anywhere.  (more…)

06/13/18 10:11am

The good life at Catapano Dairy Farm. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Five different birds trill and sing, competing for attention. Breezes whistle through leaves. Sunlight dapples the fragrant herbs by our feet. As we sit on our deck on a beautiful June afternoon, the North Fork’s bounty reaches all five of our senses.

Raising my kids here, they’re learning to appreciate more than pretty sights: they’re also smelling, hearing, touching, and tasting the place where they live.  (more…)

08/21/17 6:01am
Beach plums freshly picked from the beach (All pictures by Monique Singh-Roy)

Beach plums freshly picked from the beach (All pictures by Monique Singh-Roy)

This story was originally published in October 2016. We are reposting it in anticipation of beach plum season.

Beach plums aren’t typically found in supermarkets, but the fruit — which looks more like supersized blueberry or grape than a plum — makes some of the most flavorful jam I’ve ever tasted.

Since Colonial times, and likely before, the wild fruit, which grows on the North and South forks, has been harvested to make preserves, jams and jellies. According to Cornell University, which undertook a nearly 20-year project to establish the beach plum as a commercial crop, it’s native to the Northeastern U.S. (more…)

08/11/17 6:01am

In the 1960s, Southold Town was home to approximately 100 farmers, most of them focused on growing potatoes.

Now the only potato farmer left in Peconic, Gene Wesnofske is celebrating his 50th year in business at Wesnofske Farms.

“I’m happy that we’ve lasted this long,” he said. “This is a tough business. When we moved out here in ’67, there was probably, in Southold Town, there might have been like 100 farmers … now we’re down to a handful from the Mattituck line to Orient … So to survive 50 years is a great accomplishment and to have my family behind me and helping out is even greater.” (more…)

06/08/17 6:03am

In an area where some farm families measure their lineage in centuries, new North Fork agricultural operations are launching all the time.

From Wading River to Orient, a handful of startup farms and nurseries plant or sell their first crops each year.

They start off with a business plan and a dream, hoping to carve out their niche in the agricultural legacy of the North Fork.

As the 2017 “summer season” begins, we caught up with three different types of agricultural enterprises that launched a year ago to see where they are heading into their second seasons.

We found them all making adjustments — scaling back in some areas, expanding in others — to refocus their businesses for the future. (more…)