Notes from the North Fork

Ahoy from your wandering Edible Community Gardens Project member. We are in the North Fork of Long Island soaking up the last golden days of Indian summer. Our boat, New Fidelity, is moored in Greenport, an old whaling town, right on the waters of the Peconic Bay.  We have fallen in love with the historic seaside villages of Long Island.  Greenport, once a forgotten backwater, is where all of the action is today. It’s the heart of the North Fork farming, wine and seafood industries. The food, wine and maritime atmosphere are a natural synergy for this un-Hampton like town where you can buy a clam rake, a fancy dress, or an antique oyster basket.


Greenport is popular because it is an authentic town where you can walk anywhere; on the boardwalk, along the waterfront, through old shipyards, to Aldo’s coffee roasting shop, (there’s no Starbucks), to chic little stores, the IGA supermarket, Latham’s Farm Stand, the Greenport Brewery, where you can fill up your growler with local craft beer, Preston’s hardware store and the Coronet Café, just to mention a few. Local restaurants offer a variety of farm to table food; there is no shortage of a good bowl of chowder.

Just outside of Greenport Village we found  Mattebella Vineyards, one of the 30 plus wineries of the North Fork offering tastings of their 2009 Famiglia Chardonnay. The grapes thrive in the region’s cool maritime climate and are raised with love by Mark Tobin and his wife, longtime residents of Miami Beach. They produce 765 cases a season and as I write, the grapes are ready to be crushed in early October.

The Southold Fish Market is a source for local fish, just down the road in a trailer, where one can  buy local steamers or cherrystone clams for a spicy chowder or a whole bass for roasting.  Owner Charlie Manwaring says his secret of success in the fish business is that he knows the first names of all of the fishermen.   We have prepared fresh-caught  fluke, flounder, Montauk Sea Bass and blue crab cakes, all in my boat galley.  Our favorite fish meals are enjoyed when we meet up with a crew from a day of fishing and chat them up during the cleaning session; inevitably some filets come our way.

The local farmers market in Greenport features a selection of Peconic Bay oysters for tasting; they’ll open 3 for $2.50 or try the smoked blue fish served up in hand wrapped  foil packaging . We tried it out on a Sunday morning bagel with smoked blue fish and long island creamy goat cheese.  That works, especially on fresh Brooklyn imported bagels. The most interesting vendor at this little farmers market was the Honey Bee vendor with her bees in a glass paneled bee hive. A thousand bees and their queen busily tending to their hive while we chatted on about the problem of colony collapse.

heritage tomatoes

With nearly a dozen active farmers markets operating on the East End, the first in Sag Harbor opened in 2005, was my personal favorite, with 30 vendors and a great location by the waterfront in town.  In late September, on a Saturday morning, I found several varieties of squash,  peppers (padron), golden beets, baby potatoes , Long Island duck, Japanese and globe eggplants, award winning Sag Harbor cheddar, heritage tomatoes, flowers, craft beer , winemakers, bakers,  fermented vegetables,  and seafood mongers. There were no crafts or fast food or jewelry makers to fill up the stalls.  Instead the finest offerings of North Fork home grown food and wine, that seems more world class than local.

Most of the East End markets run from late May through September or October, the Sag Harbor Market has operated year round for the last two years.  The Greenport Market struggles to stay open even in the season because the location, in a church parking lot, is several blocks away from the downtown and marina district, ferry and rail stations.  What a great move it would be for the entire town if the market came to the marina on a Saturday morning where they could be part of the existing community gathering space . Farmers markets thrive in locations such as community centers, ferry terminals, downtown squares, Village Greens and marinas.  As the season winds down, there is optimism on the part of local farmers who will still harvest their pumpkins, root vegetables, squash, kale and potatoes well into December.

Ahoy, as we continue our adventure and gather stories for another travelogue!

How to Make a basic lemonade and it’s recipe

By learning to master and use simple syrup, you can make fresh lemonade, limeade and a huge variety of refreshing beverages.  It will keep for a month or more in your refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.  The ratio is always one to one, or for every one cup of sugar you use, use one cup of water, and so on.


Ingredients of Lemonade Syrup

  • 2 cups superfine sugar  (for the simple syrup)
  • 2 cups water (for the simple syrup)
  • 2 cups lemon juice, preferably from Meyer lemons
  • 6 to 8 cups cold water (to adjust to your preferred taste)
  • Crushed or shaved ice
  • Thinly sliced lemon rounds for garnish

Lemonade Syrup Procedure

  • To make simple syrup, heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Using anywhere from 4 to 10 lemons (depending on variety, ripeness and size) extract juice and pulp
  • Combine cooled simple syrup with lemon juice and pulp
  • Add chilled water to your taste.  Serve over ice with a lemon slice

The Right Stainless Steel Dog Wash for you and your pet

Usually, a lot of people think that they only need to buy a stainless steel product and a lot of their durability problems go away. While it is true that a stainless steel dog bath tub can withstand the test of time, durability is not the only consideration. You should also consider size as well as ease of cleaning and design components. Now, it’s too easy to look at buying this type of product from a purely utilitarian perspective. However, I would suggest that you don’t look at things that way because, eventually, your attitude will catch up with bath tub

What do I mean by this? Well, if your stainless steel dog wash is hard to clean, chances are, you won’t bother to clean it after a while. This can lead to all sorts of hygiene issues. Also, it can lead to a downward spiral. You look at your equipment before you wash your dog and you decide to call off washing your dog. Why? You don’t want to clean up after washing your dog. Days turn into weeks and then weeks can easily turn into months. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you of this.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of sad situation you’ll find yourself in if you don’t pay close attention to the design of the dog wash you’re thinking of buying. Design counts for a lot. Just because different products have different designs but are intended for the same use, it doesn’t automatically mean that they’re all the same. There is a big reason why products have the certain shape or the design they have. Those details are not without consequence. They mean something. They either mean that you would spend less time cleaning that particular item, or they can mean that you would have to put in a lot more effort in cleaning up after your pet.

Water management is also a big factor in looking for a right dog wash product. You might think that just because the product has enclosed sides that your water management issues have gone away. Absolutely wrong. You have to imagine how your pet would actually behave in working with that equipment. You might be in for a shock. If your pet is particularly active and likes to run around, water might end up all  over the place.

You have to look beyond what the manufacture’s description is. A lot of manufacturers like to paint a rosy and beautiful picture of how your pet would interact with their product. I really can’t say I blame them. After all, their job is to move as many products as possible. Your job, on the other hand, is to maximize the amount of value for every dollar you’re going to spend on a product.Stainless Steel Dog Wash

Do your job well by simply paying attention to differences in design and noticing what their implications may mean as far as the actual product usage, your pet’s comfort, and also your clean up labor. By factoring all these considerations, you increase the likelihood that you would be making a truly informed decision.

Let’s face it, it’s just too easy to end up with the wrong product. It’s too easy to buy something that you thought would work in your situation only to come back to the store and ask for a refund. Don’t go through that unnecessary headache. Pay attention to the specific considerations of your pet and use these as the primary guidance you’ll use to pick the right product. The right product is out there. It’s only a question of whether you use the right factors to identify that product.

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