The North Fork’s first snail farm is up and running. Two years in the planning, Peconic Escargot in Cutchogue recently took delivery of 500 snails, with more on the way.

Partners Taylor Knapp and Sean Nethercott house their stock in stacked, soil-filled shelves in a 10-by-30-foot greenhouse and plan to sell them to restaurants, though it will be months before they have any snails ready to sell. The farm does not accept visitors.

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Most American diners have never tasted fresh snails; the vast majority of the ones consumed in the United States are canned, imported from France or Asia. Knapp said that there are a handful of domestic snail farms on the West Coast, but claims that his is the only one in New York State.

Knapp is also hoping to be able to sell snail eggs, “caviar” which he described as “earthy and grassy, pearl white and about the size of salmon roe.”

When he’s not tending snails, Knapp runs the Saturday-night Greenport pop-up restaurant PAWPAW which you can read about here.

By the way, snail farming is also known as heliciculture and, for good measure, heliculture.