The Sidor family has grown potatoes on the same Mattituck property for more than a century. In fact, the first crops were planted at the Oregon Road farm in 1910.
The Long Island Rail Road, meanwhile, has shipped potatoes from the North Fork since the mid-19th century.
So when it came time for the local Railroad Museum of Long Island to select a partner for its latest limited-edition toy boxcar, Martin Sidor Farms was a no-brainer.
“Things like agriculture and farming are very important to the story of the Long Island Rail Road and the whole North Fork,” said museum president Don Fisher.
In 2005, the museum teamed up with the toy company Lionel to produce a series of limited-edition boxcars emblazoned with the names of Long Island businesses. The latest — the 20th overall — features the logo for North Fork Potato Chips, a line produced by the Sidors. In a nod to Mattituck’s Zip code, the train car includes the numbers 11952.
Martin and Carol Sidor, who took over the family business in 1970, have learned a great deal about the history of local potato farming. Their move to potato chips 13 years ago has kept the property thriving.
Ms. Sidor said the snacks are a throwback to a once-booming industry on the North Fork.
“It gives you a sense of pride when you start talking about the potato fields that were here [more than a century ago],” she said.
Mr. Fisher said the LIRR used to ship local produce to western parts of New York as a way to generate revenue.
“We talk farm to table, this was in the 1850s and 1860s when farm to table started on Long Island,” he said. “[The boxcar is] celebrating this history of seed potatoes coming out on the Long Island Rail Road, going back to the markets up and down the East Coast.”
Other toy boxcars in the series include King Kullen, Entenmann’s and the Long Island Farm Bureau. Proceeds benefit the Long Island Railroad Museum.
Want to buy a boxcar?
The North Fork Potato Chips toy boxcar, which retails for $72.95 plus tax, is being sold until May 5 at rmli.org.