05/04/15 7:59am
05/04/2015 7:59 AM

Trees attacked by southern pine beetles go through three stages before the beetles move on:

R0430_beetle_side1_C.jpgFresh attacks: Females initiate the attack on the tree, releasing pheremones once a suitable host is found. Pine trees release extra resin as a defense mechanism against the beetles, though male and female beetles work together to clear away the resin and enter the bark — usually through the crevices. After southern pine beetles bore into the trees, reddish-white dust can be found on and around the tree.

R0430_beetle_side2_C.jpg

Faders: S-shaped galleries are formed inside the tree, where more beetles later hatch and create new tubes. The beetle also transmits a fungus that stops water from circulating within the tree. Foliage starts to fade in color.

 

R0430_beetle_side3_C.jpgVacated: Beetles born inside the tree create exit holes, allowing a mass emergence from the tree. The browning of foliage continues and bark becomes loose and peels away easily. Abundant white sawdust from the entrance and exit holes often accumulates at the base of vacated trees.

Source: Department of Environmental Conservation

04/26/15 8:00am
04/26/2015 8:00 AM
Eve Kaplan, owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead point to cold damage on a small tomato plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Eve Kaplan, owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead point to cold damage on a small tomato plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Wading River farmer Robert Andrews’ crops are mostly still in the ground, shielded from the recent cold snaps by warm earth.

Mr. Andrews said Saturday morning’s cold snap didn’t damage too many of his crops.

“It’s not bad at all,” he said. “It just slowed things down a bit.”

Not all farmers have been so lucky.

The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for early Saturday, warning that “sub-freezing temperatures will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.” Another frost advisory had since been issued for early Sunday from 2 to 8 a.m.

While most farmer’s crops have just been planted, other farms — like Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market in Riverhead — are feeling the hurt from the wind and cold.

“It’s just tough on everything,” said Garden of Eve owner Eve Kaplan. “You get a warm day and you think it’s over and then you get a 40-degree day with wind.”

Ms. Kaplan held up a tomato plant in a small pot. The edges of the small leaves had withered and died.

That’s thanks to the freezing temperatures and the harsh wind, which Ms. Kaplan said is especially blustery on her farm. Even cold-tolerant plants like cabbage and lettuce have been damaged in their pots, she said.

“People won’t buy these because they think they’re diseased,” she said.

Ms. Kaplan said her employees have been carrying plants inside at night and putting down covers over the rows to shield other crops.

Even farms like Mr. Andrews — which use greenhouses — are feeling a sting, not on their plants but in their wallets.

“We’ve been running [through] oil to get the greenhouse going,” he said.

However, vineyards have not been as affected, since the grapes have not yet begun growing. Only a long stretch of cold weather could do significant damage, said Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard general manager Steve Levine.

“A one-night freeze isn’t going to do much,” he said. “We don’t have any damage. We don’t even have grapes yet.”

psquire@timesreview.com

04/09/15 9:00am
04/09/2015 9:00 AM

In a big boost to a statewide program aimed at protecting farmland, the budget that passed last week in Albany has allocated more money than ever before to the initiative, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The 2015-16 state budget added $35 million more for the Farmland Protection Program, a number that, according to the American Farmland Trust, places New York in the top five among states capitals setting money aside for farmland protection.

(more…)

04/01/15 8:00am
04/01/2015 8:00 AM
Bayview Farm owner Paul Reeve (right) with his semi-retired farmer Uncle George Reeve local horseradish root they have been busy grinding up for sale in the farmstand. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bayview Farm owner Paul Reeve (right) said tractors are ready, but the soil is not. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

In a drastic change to their normal routines, North Fork farmers say they aren’t doing much these days.

By the time St. Patrick Day rolls around, Bayview Farm and Market owner Paul Reeve says he usually has seeds in the ground in anticipation of a May harvest.

But this year’s prolonged winter has put a kink in the system, delaying seeding by more than two weeks. April 1 has come and gone and no planting has been done at the Aquebogue farm.  (more…)

03/13/15 8:00am
03/13/2015 8:00 AM
Potted ornamental plants in one of the greenhouses at Jamesport Greenhouses on Herricks Lane. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Potted ornamental plants in one of the greenhouses at Jamesport Greenhouses on Herricks Lane. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A Greek yogurt boom has brought herculean increases in sales to a couple of upstate counties in recent years, knocking Suffolk County out of its long-coveted spot as New York State’s No. 1 seller of agricultural products, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Between 2007 to 2012, the county fell to third in the state, according to the survey, which is conducted every five years. (more…)

01/08/15 8:59am
01/08/2015 8:59 AM

Scenic corridors, fine wine and farm-fresh produce are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. They provide the backdrop for and help define life on the North Fork — and are testaments to the area’s rich agricultural history. But beyond all the beauty and nostalgia, farming is a business. And it’s a tough and dirty business, one that’s under constant threat from forces both natural and man-made.

For 26 years, Joseph Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, has worked to protect the farmer and, to the best of his ability, help the industry thrive. Last year, he decided to retire. Because of his lifelong passion, leadership and devotion to the North Fork’s farming community, Mr. Gergela is the recipient of The Suffolk Times’ first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.   (more…)

12/19/14 8:00am
12/19/2014 8:00 AM
The Second Street firehouse was obtained by Riverhead Town in 2011 in a land swap with the Riverhead Fire District. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

The Second Street firehouse was obtained by Riverhead Town in 2011 in a land swap with the Riverhead Fire District. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

The sale of the Second Street firehouse has been in the headlines several times in the last couple of years.

Initially, it was expected that Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi would purchase the building for $375,000. Then, after prolonged negotiations, the Town Board upped the price to $500,000 and unanimously loosened restrictions to allow additional uses for the property — prompting debate over whether or not other bidders should get a second bite at the apple. (more…)