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Farm Stand Report, North Fork LI Spring 2014

Had to drive out to Mattituck today so checked out all the farm stands on the way. Almost to a man, Easter flowers galore; but Bayview alone has SPINACH! (no asparagus yet). And horseradish, probably because of the festival this weekend.

To be continued.

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  1. THANK YOU coll !!!

    please keep us updated !

    16 Replies
    1. re: Gastronomos

      They'd better have asparagus by next weekend, that's all I can say.

      1. re: coll

        I'm gonna be at the horseradish festival tomorrow... I gotta drive around a bit ...

        1. re: Gastronomos

          The only place with produce looked like Bayview. They also have fresh eggs and other local goodies. As does Llewlyn of course, and you might score some raw milk at the same time if you're lucky. Catapano or Goodale for cheese, Sang Lee will have some organic hot house stuff. Vineyards and breweries are in full swing as always though! Hope you have an iPhone, you're probably out here already?

            1. re: Gastronomos

              Glad to hear from you, keep us updated. I'm just doing yardwork today myself, but it's a glorious day to be outside.

              1. re: coll

                "The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful. "
                -Jimmy Buffett

                1. re: Gastronomos

                  Thank you very little (just taking a lemonade break from raking, the weather IS too gorgeous).

                  1. re: coll

                    LOL. JK. It's the Long Ireland and Jimmy Buffett songs that are getting me all into the horseradish.

                    1. re: Gastronomos

                      I am VERY glad to hear that, such bounty available.

                      1. re: coll

                        a small group of us,

                        The Cook Room breakfast - Great
                        Horseradish Festival - Fun
                        Ty Llwyd Farm - Fresh eggs
                        Bay View Farm Market - fresh spinach, misc
                        Snowflake - ICE CREAM !!!
                        Spicys in Bellport - 1/2 Fried Chicken Dinner X2...
                        Chicken extra good, Collards my fave, mac salad fun. And, I'm not sure what's going on, but this time, for the first time, the sauce was GREAT! not the bland only sweet stuff I had been getting from the Riverhead location. this time it was slightly spicy and tasty. now I know why you said you hoard the stuff ;-)

                        1. re: Gastronomos

                          Wow I'm impressed! You sure picked the right day for a ride. The other Spicys is in Bellport, just in case you want to tell your friends ;-) I eat the macaroni and collard before the chicken if you can believe it. It was owned by a guy,then his daughter took over the Riverhead location and the son the Bellport store, there are definitely differences but still, nobody touches them.

                          1. re: coll

                            LOL, yeah, typing whatever it seems, I corrected it to "Bellport"... some diffs for sure, e.g., collards chock full of pork and slightly spicy, sauce for chicken very good, and, yeah, still the best fried chicken.
                            I can see eating the mac and collards first. Good thing my SO had a half stack of pancakes from The Cook Room to go so I paired with the fried chicken...HEAVEN!

      2. Thanks, Coll! Looking forward to your updates.
        If you spot any ramps please tell. I have friends on Union Sq. market watch but I would love a reason to head east in this beautiful weather.

        5 Replies
        1. re: EM23

          I've never encountered ramps but now it will be a mission for me. Or anything else unusual.

          1. re: coll

            Garlicky, leeky heaven! I’m feeling ambitious at the moment and want to make and can a few jars of ramp pesto.

              1. re: coll

                To my surprise, our local delivery place has them. They carry East End produce mostly, as far as I know. They deliver all over Long Island and into Manhattan and the other boroughs.

                http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f...

        2. I waited til the last minute, but no dice. My local stand around the corner isn't even open yet, despite the late Easter. So I drove to Bayview, and they did have "local" spinach (guessing Schmidts). Then I went inside and saw a big display of nice looking asparagus, or at least nicer than the grocery. But a little too stiff and perfect, you could tell they weren't local.

          I asked the cashier where they were from and she said "Jersey...I think". I don't think they're even allowed to sell anything from out of the area, but times are tough so I took a bunch anyway since it's a gorgeous day; I have some prosciutto I can wrap them in and grill along with my pork tenderloin later. 65 degrees right now, woo hoo!

          11 Replies
          1. re: coll

            Coll- Kudos on the plan for a pork-wrapped veg alongside a pork tenderloin - enjoy!

            I was under the impression that produce sold at L.I. farm stands are not local-grown unless it states “Local” on the bin.

            1. re: EM23

              Not sure if it's just the south shore or both forks, but there ARE laws on the books about local only. Not that I'm complaining, I really wanted asparagus for the holiday ;-)

              I looked quickly but can't find any info, I will pursue this question further after the holiday. So much food, so little time!

              1. re: coll

                Ah, feels good to just sit and relax! Hope everyone had a great Easter.

                So here's the first thing that popped up this morning, now that I can think straight; it's old but this was sort of what I was referring to, it explains the general feeling out here about farm stands:
                http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/14/nyr...
                And it says this "Under the new code, 80 percent of the products sold at a farm stand must be grown by the farmer. The other 20 percent may be other locally grown produce or items made from local farm products, like jellies and sauces. The law prohibits the sale of packaged grocery items like soda, chips and cookies, as well as meat and tropical fruit."

                I just remember a lot of uproar at the time, and occasionally still to this day.

                I found this more recent article in the local Riverhead paper, they're a little more lenient (as could be expected, since we're technically the "Unhamptons"):

                "About 'farm stands' (New York state) Ag & Markets has nothing to say. Literally. They have no rules and no policy that define or govern retail operations conducted by a single farm on its own land. When I spoke to an Ag & Markets official to confirm what their law seemed to indicate, she confirmed they defer to town code on this issue.

                "Riverhead code says little. A paragraph tucked into zoning law restricts farm retailing by what’s called merchandising area: at least 60 percent of the space must be devoted to selling goods grown on the farm where the stand is located. Save Main Road thinks neighboring Southold’s code, which goes into far greater detail on this point, has much to offer; we plan to work with Riverhead officials to improve our code."

                And what says Southold, you ask? Lots of legal mumbo jumbo:
                http://ecode360.com/11994971

                For our purposes, Southold boils down to this basically:

                "FARM STAND: The Building Department shall only issue a farm stand permit to a party engaged in bona fide agricultural production within the Town of Southold. For the purposes of this article, "bona fide agricultural production" shall be limited to the operation, within the Town of Southold, of either not less than seven acres of land used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $10,000 or more or land of seven acres or less used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $50,000 or more."

              2. re: EM23

                I don't believe that New York has a "locally grown" standard (at least, it hadn't the last time I'd researched); New Jersey, though, permits labeling as "locally grown" anything from within 30 miles of the NJ border. In Vermont, the rule is (simplified) that it "originated within Vermont or 30 miles of the place where they are sold."

                Here in New York, "local" labeling is within the discretion of the seller: it could be from that very same farm, from Long Island, from New York, or from the region.

                Conversely, it could have been grown 200 feet away but *not* have a local label. I've heard from some farmers that their thinking is not to specifically label produce they've grown as being "local" or "from our farm" or whatever because it then underscores that the rest of what they sell hasn't been.

                1. re: Scott_R

                  Still looking sporadically, but not finding any info either way. I wasn't talking about Long Island or NY state as a whole though; I recall it being Southampton town or maybe even Riverhead town that prohibited selling anything not from within that town's borders. But this was a few years ago, things may have changed. I'll ask some of my friendly farmers for more info when they FINALLY open up.

                  Anyway the asparagus was delicious, where ever it came from.

                  And adding to selling of local goods, farmstands have just been authorized to sell local wines now too. Only two types per stand, but great for grab and go!

                  1. re: coll

                    Great news about local wine availability at farm stands.

                  2. re: Scott_R

                    <Here in New York, "local" labeling is within the discretion of the seller: it could be from that very same farm, from Long Island, from New York, or from the region.>

                    This was my understanding as well. I have seen the "local" signs at Briermere and a few others.

                    1. re: EM23

                      Sometimes the farms rely on presumption by the customer: if you're buying tomatoes from a North Fork farm stand in May, there's no way they're growing them unless they have hothouses, but a lot of people don't consider that. Then there are those farmstands that exist without attached farms that use their rural location to *imply* that this is something they or some nearby farm grew, though it could all be from the Hunts Point Market.

                      1. re: Scott_R

                        Now that you mention it, the farmstands out here get very nice tomatoes from a certain farmer who drives up from South Carolina between now and July. After a winter of nothing they taste like manna from heaven! Otherwise most get their produce until they can harvest from John King who sources wherever he can. Some local, some Hunts Point. So it must have been the South Fork only, I can't find any info on the internet either way so far, but sort of pressed for time until tomorrow ;-)

                        1. re: coll

                          He must be hauling an awful lot of tomatoes to make the trip worthwhile. :)

                          1. re: Scott_R

                            I don't know the logistics but he comes up with a full truck so he must have a lot of customers nearby. Another question that will be broached; I always just was happy to know the provenance, and that they weren't Canadian or South American.

              3. I finally got to the North Fork a few days and stopped at Bayview for spinach. I asked when they were expecting asparagus and one of the employees said about two weeks. As has been noted, Bayview was the only one that had anything so far, that I could see.

                13 Replies
                1. re: MacTAC

                  I know, it's not worth it for the smaller places to open until they at least have spinach and asparagus. My favorite place is right on the corner, the second he opens I'll let you know.

                  1. re: coll

                    Thanks, Coll. I just thought of Condzella's in Wading River where I got White Asparagus last year. Found their website and it says "Asparagus will be ready in late April!" Exclamation point theirs :-)

                    http://www.condzellasfarm.com/the-far...

                    1. re: MacTAC

                      Guessing white is harvested earlier? I've had it but from Waldbaums I think, I'm willing to wait until green time!

                      I've passed that farm like a million times but it doesn't look like your usual farm stand so I never stopped to check it out. I'll pop in there soon.

                      PS The asparagus I got at Bayview for Easter was scrumptious, in case I didn't mention it earlier. At least it wasn't from Peru! Guess they brought it in just for the holiday.

                      1. re: coll

                        I went there specifically for white, I'm not sure if that is what they're saying will be ready in late April. White is much more labor intensive, and of course more expensive.

                        http://www.asparagus-friends.com/cult...

                        The first time I ever had white was many years ago when my friend's Dad brought home a jar of imported from Karl Ehmer's where he worked as a butcher. We ate them straight from the jar, huge, tender and delicious. I bought a jar years later from somewhere else but they weren't as good.

                        The ones bought fresh from Condzella's were very good, and I will buy again when I'm near there.

                        1. re: MacTAC

                          They're ten minutes from my house, I might just take a ride!

                          1. re: coll

                            I'm leaving at 12:45 for Huntington to get a truck to drive out to an East Moriches nursery. Due to the late notice and start, I don't know what kind of time will be left over for farm stands unfortunately.

                            I'll be checking my email on my phone so if you do take a ride and post, maybe I can catch them before closing time. Or maybe I can stop on my way out and if so, I'll post later.

                            1. re: MacTAC

                              OK I'd better get hustling then. Just hope they're open with the weather, that's one thing you never can count on out of season. A nice ride down Sound Ave sounds good either way, after a few days cooped up with the weather.

                              1. re: coll

                                Sorry hope this isn't too late (I tried to send on my iPhone and I wasn't registered etc). The farm is NOT open, I can't even see where the stand would be right now. I did stop at Andrews on Sound Ave and they said NO produce yet, they didn't even say when. I did buy a dozen eggs at least, and it was a nice ride because the sun finally came out, full blast.

                                1. re: coll

                                  So I just got home at seven. I appreciated your response when I read it at 5:00 after my second nursery. Decided to continue northeast from Westhampton Beach to see what I might, planning on Magic Fountain and 7-11 in Mattituck.

                                  I passed by the Wells Homestead stand in Aquebogue and saw they were open. As they were on the other side of the road, I figured I would check it out on the way back. When I got to Bayview I saw a sign for "fresh cut local asparagus" and grabbed a couple of bunches. Will be eating them in however long it takes to roast them.

                                  So I sent you on a wild goose chase, distracting you and scored my own from where you got your Easter asparagus :-) I've been to Condzella's maybe three times but never saw a stand. Just pulled into the driveway to the barn, went inside and there was their produce. It's possible they may have been open, sorry for not being clear about that earlier.

                                  Glad you enjoyed the ride.

                                  1. re: MacTAC

                                    Good to know, I'll go back there in July and see what goes on. I am right by Rottkamp and Schmidts and all the others, so it's no big deal: Most of them share their produce anyway. And asparagus wasn't on the menu tonight. Most of the asparagus out here comes from a farm in the Orient area, doesn't matter where you buy it really. I am happy we will be having eggs for breakfast tomorrow either way.

                                    1. re: MacTAC

                                      The asparagus from Bayview were delicious roasted. The "fresh cut" was somewhat relative as when snapped, there was 2 or 3" to not be used. I suspect that yesterday's weather may have impacted how long they were there since being cut. They were quite tender, and again, delicious.

                                      Incidentally, further out in Laurel, Wowak had spinach on their farm wagon on the north side of 25.

                                      1. re: MacTAC

                                        I had wrapped mine in prosciutto and grilled, since the weather was good that day....today was so nice it would have been perfect too but I got caught by surprise. Boy they were good, scratched my itch until I can get some real local. I'll probably wait for my guy to open now, I'll swing by tomorrow. Can't be much longer.

                                        I haven't gone by Schmidts lately, they're my go to for spinach. I have a pot of chicken turning into broth on the stove right now, and strachiatelle soup planned for the weekend, so I will need to get some in the next day or so.

                          2. re: coll

                            White is grown under carefully mounded dirt, which keeps the sun from turning it green. The preferred version in Germany & the Low Countries.

                    2. I passed by the local North Fork farm and saw that the North Fork mangoes and bananas are starting to ripen. Hopefully Charlie and Bill will be selling them soon.