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Jun 4, 2008 05:26 PM

Long Island Local Strawberries -- any ready yet?

Such a cold wet spring, I figure we're a few weeks off. Anyone hear of any North Fork farms with ripe strawberries yet?

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  1. No, my local farm here in Riverhead has Delaware strawberries which are very good (tomatoes from there too). But I was in the Hamptons yesterday and all the farm stands had signs that say "Local Strawberries". They may be fibbing, although they do get their crops a week or two ahead of the North Fork. I'll check with my farmer later today and give you an ETA. All that's local right now is asparagus.

    6 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Just got back from the farm, almost passed by because he didn't have a "local" sign but he said they all are now. Also has local sugar snap peas, he made me eat a few raw and was saying dip them in bleu cheese dressing, but no way, these things are like candy! I bought an extra one for snacks this weekend. Still plenty of asparagus too.

      1. re: coll

        Which farm? Lewin? Harbes?

        1. re: sbp

          Probably all, but I go to my local guy who doesn't have a name (well his name is Charlie, his stand doesn't have a name I mean). He's just north on Mills Road from Home Depot/Stop and Shop. What few things he has are always the best, he grows some and the rest is from his friends on neighboring farms. I never go to Lewin or Harbes, they're too touristy for me, I like to just pop in and out. The other places I usually go are Rottkamp in Baiting Hollow (although she doesn't seem to be open much lately), Reeve in Riverhead (and Schmidts right near him for spinach) and Bayview in Jamesport area if I'm out for a ride. Reeve has fresh eggs too usually, although I get mine at Mary Lewins just west of Edwards Ave on Sound Ave, she always has a few dozen on a card table in front of her house. Come on out this weekend, it's going to be in the 90s!

      2. re: coll

        Yesterday, my local farmer's market (new Newburgh NY) is advertising local strawberries right now. Upon closer inspection, I saw that they defined local as being from New Jersey. In either case, much better than the industrial ones we've been stuck with until now. So sweet and juicy!

        1. re: coll

          My sister purchased local berries in Orient yesterday. 2pt/$5, Latham farm, I think.

          North Fork produce, especially Riverhead area, will always be ready ahead of South Fork as it's warmer. This is true for corn, berries, grapes, most anything, ask your farmer friend. Of course if they're growing early season under plastic it might not make much difference.

          1. re: gnocchi

            All the farmers (North and South) tell me South Fork is always a few weeks ahead of North Fork, but it's pretty close. The Springs area is the earliest of all. I think because it's the most sheltered.

        2. I'm midway to the Hamptons and picked a dozen sugar-sweet strawberries from my yard yesterday. I'd imagine the harvest further east starts a bit later.. The annual Mattituck Strawberry Festival is June 11-15 on the North Fork.

          4 Replies
          1. re: dixdiner

            Thanks for the update. I stopped going to the Mattituck Strawberry Festival 2 years ago, because for at least the past 5 years, there have been virtually no LOCAL strawberries. It's a letdown to go to the strawberry shortcake tent, plunk down $5, and get those big, fat, perfect looking but tasteless California strawberries. From what I've gathered, they started supplementing the local crop with California about 10 years ago because of high demand. And every year thereafter, there were less and less local. I suspect at this point, the local farmers make more money selling elsewhere and so don't supply the festival with much, if any.

            1. re: sbp

              I just finished a breakfast "parfait" of Fage yogurt, trail mix and local strawberries, and man they just squirted juice when you bit into them! Never been to the Festival myself, now I'm glad.

              1. re: coll

                Yes, it's turned into your typical outdoor carnival, with a tent serving California strawberries. If I'm heading all the way out there, I'd rather spend the time at a U-Pick getting the real thing.

            2. Friday was our first week's pickup from our CSA, the Hamlet Organic Garden in Brookhaven and we got strawberries.

              Plus, on Sunday morning at the Huntington Farmer's Market, local strawberries were very available.

              I'm wondering if the Mattituck Strawberry Festival will be bringing in California berries this year.

              4 Replies
              1. re: jonathankavner

                Judging by this photo from their website, I'd say so!

                and click on "Hulling Night". They must think we're fools!

                1. re: coll

                  I stopped by the Nassau County Strawberry festival the other week and there were NO STRAWBERRIES THERE, except for one tent that had strawberries smoothies and chocolate-covered strawberries with--of course- Driscolls of CA. Totally wasted trip.

                  1. re: coll

                    I know for a fact they use SOME local berries, at least last year they did; I spoke to a farmer who was providing them. I am sure when they cannot obtain enough local supply (due to weather or limited availability) they have to supplement with CA. They would really have no other choice other than to run out, or in some years have nothing at all. Hot weather coupled with rain will mean a quick end for local berries, whereas coastal CA has a maritime climate much more friendly to strawberry production. Today in Riverhead 90° plus, Oxnard, CA 68°.

                    1. re: gnocchi

                      I just thought it was funny they'd have a publicity photo featuring Driscolls!
                      A few years ago there were no local strawberries ready yet and they had to use all commercial, but I would think they'd have some local at least when available. The Festival is a mob scene though, and they must need mega amounts.

                2. Was out there today, Harbes across the street from another Harbes, Sound Avenue and picked up a couple of quarts, excellent. Saw the festival setting up down the road, too.