Farmers Kitchen in Riverhead processes and sells preserves, pickles, sauces...

Farmers Kitchen in Riverhead processes and sells preserves, pickles, sauces and chutneys -- any and all products made with local produce. Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

Emilie and Mark Zaweski could not have come up with a more fitting name for their new venture than Farmers Kitchen. In this Riverhead kitchen, the seasonal produce of local farmers is turned into shelf-stable preserves, chutneys, sauces and pickles.

The Zaweski family has been farming more than 100 acres in Jamesport for generations, and Mark has come to specialize in crops for the Asian market, Asian pears and flat cabbage among them. But his wife, Emilie, explained it’s increasingly difficult to eke a profit out of selling fruits and vegetables and so the couple set up a production kitchen where their own produce — and that of other local farmers — is processed and packaged.

Initially the Zaweskis were looking for a commercial kitchen whose only geographical requirement was proximity to farms; they were not looking for a retail space or foot traffic. But the old Papa John’s Pizza in downtown Riverhead fit the bill in terms of rent and square footage — the only catch was that the zoning required a functioning storefront. And so in May 2016, Emilie Zaweski became a shopkeeper.

Beyond the tidy shelves stacked with jars and bottles, the heart of the operation is a sparkling kitchen is overseen by Mike Koske. There the Zaweskis’ own Asian pears are combined with cranberries for a zesty relish ($12); other farmers provide ripe asparagus and cucumbers for pickles ($13), beets (along with tomatoes, carrots and hot peppers) for a beet-bloody Mary mix ($18). Local IPA becomes beer jelly ($10), and local honey is infused with local lavender ($16).

All of these items bear the Farmers Kitchen label, and are available at the store on Main Street in Riverhead, online at or at various North Fork farmstands and markets (and also at the Taste NY market at the LI Welcome Center in Dix Hills). The Zaweskis also produce and package items for specific farmers, and act as a co-packer for startup businesses that have recipes but no production facilities.

Farmers Kitchen is at 309-1 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-727-7044,

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