Steph Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms holding Hawaiian tomato seeds inside her greenhouse. (Credit: Carrie Miller file photo)
They came with seeds from Amish pumpkins and wild chard, looking to swap rare plant varieties and maybe a few tips on what grows best on Long Island’s East End.
In February, an estimated 500 people attended the second annual Long Island Regional Seed Consortium Seed Swap at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, which featured lectures on subjects ranging from cultivating seeds in small spaces to a panel on the importance of saving the Long Island cheese pumpkin, as well as a public seed swap.
Attendees ranged from novices (like myself) to professional farmers with a decade of seed-saving experience.
Here’s what I learned from an afternoon dedicated to saving these embryos of plant life. (more…)
While the North Fork has become synonymous with the definition of a farming region, it has not yet been able to boast its very own “North Fork” tomato, known and advertised industry-wide by name.
Two locals are working to change that.
Mattituck farmer Stephanie Gaylor has teamed up with renowned chef Gerry Hayden of Southold restaurant North Fork Table & Inn to breed a new variety of tomato they hope will display the region’s characteristics.
Ms. Gaylor, who has been growing unique and ancient varieties of fruits and vegetables for Mr. Hayden to incorporate into his dishes, said the plan is to create a variety of tomato through pollination and natural selection that flourishes when planted in the region’s soils. While she worries about the science, Mr. Hayden is focusing on taste, ensuring the North Fork’s terroir is appropriately represented.
“Everybody knows the San Marzano tomato [from Italy],” she said. “Wouldn’t that be great if we had that here in New York?”
Locals will have to wait a while to taste the variety, as it will take about seven more years to yield a stable, predictable fruit year after year.