Peter Vielbig of Shelter Island hands out kale grown at...

Peter Vielbig of Shelter Island hands out kale grown at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm during the eighth annual Shelter Island Library Turkey Plunge at Crescent Beach on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. Credit: Ian J. Stark

Fresh kale was among the souvenirs made available to participants and their supporters during the eighth annual Friends of the Shelter Island Library Turkey Plunge on Saturday.

“Just picked it this morning,” said Peter Vielbig as he held a tub of the leafy green vegetable, handing out one stalk after another as he weaved through the crowd at Crescent Beach in Shelter Island Heights.

Vielbig, a volunteer at the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island, was there with other farm associates including consultant Sara Gordon, who said that besides harvesting kale, pig farming would be the focus this winter.

Vielbig and Gordon, of Team Sylvester Manor, were quick to state that the main goal of the event was to raise funds for renovation of the Shelter Island Public Library. But with the kale picked and the manor’s farmstand closed for the season, the greens were handy and fun to distribute, they said.

Members of Team Sylvester Manor weren’t the only plungers who had secondary messages they wanted to share. Greg Sienken, a Shelter Island resident, came to the event dressed as a turtle and wore a sign reminding all drivers and those who mow grass to take care not to injure the slow-moving reptiles.

Ennio Stacchetti and his daughter, Camila, as well as Matteo Coullare and Ann Biddlecom, all of Shelter Island, wore oval signs on their clothing that advocated buying locally sourced eggs.

“We just kind of threw this together last-minute,” Biddlecom said of their outfits.

Plunge attendees could also put on the T-shirts and hats that were available for purchase, or grab some of the Sylvester Manor kale at no charge. During the event, people could be seen holding the vegetable, and a few even clutched it as they plunged into the waters.

“It’s raw, so I can’t imagine anyone is eating it now,” Gordon said.

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