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Take a foodie tour of the North Fork this season 

Briermere Farms, Patty's Berries and Bunches and more

Briermere Farms, Patty's Berries and Bunches and more foodie stops on the North Fork to try.  Credit: Daniel Brennan

North Fork farm stands these days offer a lot more than tomatoes. Ice cream, hard cider, charcuterie and lavender honey are just a few of the locally produced food products available at the picturesque spots below. Make a day of it by mapping out a route from Riverhead clear to Orient with stops for shopping, snacking, and petting the occasional goat or sheep. Consider driving to your easternmost stop first, then making your way back west in hopes of avoiding traffic. Either way, you'll want to pack a cooler to keep your goodies fresh for the ride home.

Briermere Farms, at the gateway to the North Fork, sells fruits and vegetables, sure, but the reason for the line out the door is the pie. As soon as you get out of your car you are hit with the mingling, tantalizing scents of browning pastry and caramelizing fruit. The line moves quickly, so be sure to peruse the day’s menu posted on the chalkboard out front and be ready to order. Over a dozen types of pie (including blackberry-apple, cherry cream, raspberry-plum, coconut meringue), are usually on hand and some sell out; if there’s something specific that you want call ahead for availability. Cookies, muffins, and other baked goods as well as jams and jellies are also made on the premises. 4414 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-722-3931, briermerefarms.com

Patty’s Berries and Bunches carries fruit and produce in season, and has pick-your-own berry fields. But the big attractions here are the stunning and well-priced bunches of peonies, gladiolas, and sunflowers, plus the little refreshment stand that sells ice cream made with the farm’s peaches, raspberries, strawberries and herbs. Traffic can be intense as you approach Patty’s, which is directly across the street from the gigantic Harbes Family Farm with its playgrounds and petting zoos. If you aren’t traveling with little ones, who will most definitely enjoy Harbes’ trampolines and pig races, try to visit mid-week. 410 Sound Ave., Mattituck, 631-655-7996, pattysberriesandbunches.org

Pull over for the traffic-stopping baby goats frolicking in front of Goodale Farms self-serve store in Aquebogue. Two dollars is a small price to pay for a container of food to feed them and their older siblings—as well as cows, sheep, and chickens--in the pens out back. But don’t leave before browsing the cheese, yogurt, milk, butter and selection of pastured meats that fill the store’s refrigerator cases. If you love what you take home, you may want to join the farm’s popular meal subscription plan, a selection of dairy products, meats, fruits, and vegetables which can be customized to suit your household’s size and taste and is delivered weekly. 250 Main Rd., Riverhead, 631-901-5975, goodalefarms.com

Woodside Orchards, run by the Gammon family since 1982, has two u-pick locations, one in Jamesport and one in Aquebogue, with 28 varieties of apples on offer during the season. In 2012, the Gammons began to craft hard cider, and serve it year-round out of a tasting room at the Aquebogue site. In addition to traditional dry and sweet ciders, there are flavored ciders including ginger, apricot, and blueberry-mango. Take a seat on the patio and sample a flight or pint (growlers are for take-out only) along with freshly fried cider doughnuts made in the adjacent open bakery. 729 Rt. 25, Aquebogue, 631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com

The Wickham family has been farming on the North Fork for almost two centuries, and their Cutchogue farm stand dates back to the 1930s. Stop at the iconic Wickham’s Fruit Farm for whatever has ripened that day, or pick your own blueberries, peaches and apples in the adjacent fields. Also available: pies and preserves, apple cider from the oldest cider press on Long Island, and freshly made cider doughnuts. Closed Sundays. 28700 Main Rd., Cutchogue, 631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com

At the sustainable, organic 8 Hands Farm, heritage pigs share a pasture with Icelandic sheep. Free-range chickens roam the 28 acres where vegetables are also grown. At the farm store, you can purchase house-baked sourdough bread, eggs, tomato sauce, lanolin soap and wool. The butcher shop stands out for its pork sausages (in both classic and exotic flavors like Thai curry), pates, and house-cured bacon. There is also a coffee bar that serves muffins, cookies, soups, and sandwiches. 4735 Cox Ln., Cutchogue, 631-494-6155, 8handsfarm.com

A little bit of Provence on the North Fork, Lavender by the Bay is an impossibly beautiful 70-acre flower farm in East Marion that opens its fields to the public during blooms of its English and French lavender (a smaller satellite farm, near Splish Splash off of Route 25 in Calverton is also open to visitors during the season). Blooms occur from mid-May through mid-September, but call ahead for field conditions as weather affects timing. In addition to inhaling the scent of fresh lavender outdoors, you can also shop for fresh and dried lavender bunches and lavender products, including lavender honey, lavender soap, and sachets at the farm shop. 7549 Main Rd., East Marion, lavenderbythebay.com

North Fork Flower Farm grows, cuts, and arranges flowers for its CSA subscription holders as well as for local weddings and events. Although there is no stand that sells ranunculus, anemone, bachelor buttons, black-eyed Susans, snapdragons and so many more to the public, fresh-from the field bouquets can be ordered in advance for pick-up, and visitors are always welcome if they call ahead. For a more intensive flower experience, co-owner Drianne Benner recommends the farm’s fun workshops on making bouquets and flower crowns (see website for details). And she is happy to arrange customized workshops for small groups. 1100 Terry Ln., Orient, 515-652-8188, northforkflowerfarm.com

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