It’s harvest time on the North Fork, and there is a cornucopia of things to do for families, shoppers and couples. The season’s bounty includes festivals at farm stands and special events at wineries — you can "pit shop" for seasonal goodies like fresh-baked pies, fresh produce, hard cider and goat cheese. There’s also agritainment experiences to keep the kids away from their phones.
Here are some must-dos for a day trip to the North Fork.
Stop at a farm stand
Bring a shopping bag to fill with fresh produce and an item you might not expect to find this far east on the Island — ever-so-trendy goat cheese. Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic specializes in creamy chevre, made with milk from the on-site goat herd and flavored with garlic, herbs, peaches or hot pepper jelly. (631-765-8042, catapanodairyfarm.com). Expect crowds at roadside stands run by Harbes Family Farms in Mattituck and Jamesport — they’re lining up for sweet-roasted corn dipped in butter, candy and caramel apples (631-388-7093, harbesfamilyfarm.com).
UNDER THE RADAR: For bucolic peace and quiet, head east to Sep’s Farm in East Marion, where locally grown fruits and vegetables have been sold for decades from a rustic roadside stand by the farmhouse. (631-477-1583, sepsfarm.com)
Visit a winery
Long Island Wine Country has grown exponentially since the first vines were planted in the 1970s, and nowadays there are dozens of winery tasting rooms. On weekends, enjoy family-friendly live music performances at various vineyards including Pindar in Peconic. (631-734-6200, pindar.net)
UNDER THE RADAR: Kontokosta Winery is perched right on the Long Island Sound — take your glass of wine out to the bluffs overlooking the water or stay inside the upscale tasting room. (631-477-6977, kontokostawinery.com)
Get a pie
North Fork fresh fruit pies are baked the old-fashioned way, crusty and bulging with fruit grown on local farms. At the tiny roadside bake shop of Briermere Farms in Riverhead, there’s usually a line outside for its famously flaky seasonal pies, including pumpkin, pear and cranberry pear. (631-722-3931, briermere.com)
UNDER THE RADAR Apple, apple crumb and strawberry rhubarb are among the seasonal flavors at Hallock’s Cider Mill in Laurel. (631-298-1140) Coconut custard, pecan and pumpkin join the two dozen flavors at the small, family-owned Country View Farm Stand in Southold. (631-903-1335)
Stroll a small town
You can’t miss Mattituck, with it’s walkable Love Lane lined with charming food shops and boutiques. Greenport is booming these days with trendier restaurants and modern shops perched around the village’s Harborfront Park.
It’s easy to whiz right through Jamesport, a hamlet on Route 25. The quirky, cluttered Jamesport Country Store, in business for 46 years, sells retro candy, antique glass and vintage gifts. Get a country breakfast of buttermilk biscuits filled with housemade honey, chives or marmalade butter at the Main Road Biscuit Co. A four-biscuit sampler for the road costs $10. (631-779-3463, mainroadbiscuitco.com)