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…)
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…)
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…)
The Long Island Regional Seed Consortium has collected endangered and heirloom variety seeds since 2012. (Credit: Courtesy photo)
Since 2012, the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium has been saving thousands of local and international heirloom vegetable seeds, as well as some flowers, with an eye toward preserving a sustainable food culture. But those seeds need a secure home where they can be safely stored, organized and distributed to be grown by generations to come.
Many of the varieties are “orphaned,” meaning they are the last of their kind, said Cheryl Frey Richards, a co-founder of LIRSC. Some types are endangered due to climate change, growing population, falling water tables and monoculture, according to the LIRSC.
“A lot of people give us seeds in hopes that we will hold them and bring them back,” she said. “We take that very seriously so we wanted to make sure we had a good storage facility for the seeds.” (more…)