A farm, a brewery, and two wineries are newcomers to this year’s annual North Fork Foodie Tour, making 20 locations in all, and giving participants a look inside the world of Long Island farming -a tradition on the East End that continues to grow, whether it be raising chickens for eggs, growing vegetables and fruit, or cultivating of grapes at wineries.
Rarely do outsiders get such an inside glimpse of life on the farm, says Kay Freeman, co-chair of the annual event that benefits the North Fork Reform Synagogue in Cutchogue.
“It’s a way to see these wonderful people, and the hard work they do,” says Freeman, adding that the event draws people from up the Island, New York City and even places like Arizona. “That is exclusive to this tour.”
It might be impossible to hit all 20 locations this year, so organizers say it’s best to pick a few faves and come back next year to try others.
EGG-STRA THIS YEAR
New to the tour this year — actually coming back to the tour after a hiatus — is North Fork Egg Farm in Southold, where the farmers will walk visitors through the fenced-off areas and coops of the farm’s 400 chickens to explain the production of eggs and care of the animals. Children are welcome, and while there are no baby chicks to pet, the kids often have fun running after the chickens.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to tell who’s chasing who,” says Matthew Bloch, who owns the farm with his wife Marilyn Pasierb.
WINE AND BEER STOPS
Thirsty for a pint of beer or glass of wine? RGNY in Riverhead and Castello di Borghese in Cutchogue are two new stops on the tour. Eastern Front Brewery in Mattituck joins Greenport Brewery in Peconic for tours and tastings, as well.
“We are, I would say, a boutique brewery, and have been licensed four years ago,” says Eastern Front Brewery owner Doug Pearsall. “We have five beers on tap at a time.”
Drop in for a cup of coffee at North Fork Roasting Co. in Southold, where owners will give demos on roasting techniques.
Other chicken and egg farms include Browder’s Birds in Mattituck and Deep Roots Farm in Southold, which also specializes in sustainably grown meat and vegetables. At 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, participants will see various animals and gain a better understanding of sustainable pastured-based farming operations, says owner Carol Festa. And check out the goats and sheep at Goodale Farms in Riverhead, or Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic. Treiber Farms in Peconic sells meat and eggs, as well. Most of these farms also grow fruits and vegetables.
Speaking of vegetables, the North Fork is home of a wide variety, one of the main reasons local restaurants can call themselves “farm-to-table” establishments. Try KK's The Farm, known for its biodynamic veggies, Krupski’s Vegetable and Pumpkin Farm, Sang Lee Farms (one of the first certified organic farms on the North Fork) and Satur Farms in Peconic.
Shared Table Farmhouse, also in Peconic and affiliated with Nappa Wines, is a true homestead farm that normally is not open to the public and sells only from a small farmstand on weekends.
“We walk people through our farm and talk about the broken food system in this country and how we all can work to fix it and our environment,” says owner Sarah Nappa.
The North Fork is also well-known for its cultivation of plants and flowers. At Lavender by the Bay, come see where acres of English and French lavender are grown, and at North Fork Flower Farm in Orient, owner Charles Sherman says he will gather a group of three or four or more to stroll through the 2 acres of flowers, many of unique varieties. Early September is a great time to see “spectacular blooms,” he says, including dahlias.
TALKS FROM EXPERTS
At the Peconic Land Trust AG Center at Charnews Farm in Southold, experts in the fields of various types of agriculture will be on hand to give talks, one each hour: Chef Taylor Knapp, who will discuss breeding snails, Chef Stephan Bogardus of Halyard Restaurant talking about seasonal dishes, Monica Ray, a botanical artist who will discuss botanical illustrations, Dan Heston, director of the AG Center, who will give talks-and-walks around the farm, and Abra Moraweic, of Feisty Acres, who will lend insight into raising game birds.
North Fork Foodie Tour
WHEN | WHERE: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 8 at participating North Fork locations.
INFO: Tickets online at northforkreformsynagogue.org, Clarke’s Garden & Home in Greenport, Complement the Chef in Southold, Mattituck Florist, and Green Earth Natural Foods Market in Riverhead. Tickets also at any of the Foodie Tour locations on day of tour. Each ticket comes with a guide booklet and map to plot out the day.
COST: $25 (free ages 12 and younger)