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Calverton: First certified organic grapes harvested

Grapes (imported) Imported grapes are among the 12

Grapes (imported)
Imported grapes are among the 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues are most frequently found, a study shows. Credit: Newsday, 2004 / Ken Spencer

A 5-ton harvest  of certified organic grapes, Long Island's first batch, has been completed in Calverton by farmer Rex Farr. He expects to sell them to local wineries.

"This was the first year," Farr said in an interview. Heavy rains wiped out 75 percent of the crop in 2009. Last year, the vines were pruned substantially to spur growth. The grapevines haven't been sterilized with chemicals.

The grapes are cabernet franc, malbec, merlot and petit verdot. His operation is called The Farrm. It's on Youngs Avenue. The 60-acre farm, also planted with vegetables and hay, was designated certified organic in 1990.

Farr said he'd like "to establish a partnership" with a local winery or wineries to use the organic fruit.

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