01/08/15 8:59am
01/08/2015 8:59 AM
Former Farm Bureau president Mark Zaweski presents Joe Gergela with a miniature tractor as a memento at his retirement party last month. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Former Farm Bureau president Mark Zaweski presents Joe Gergela with a miniature tractor as a memento at his retirement party last month. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

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…)

11/19/14 10:16am
11/19/2014 10:16 AM
A jersey cow inside the new dairy barn at Ty Llwyd farm in Riverhead. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

A jersey cow inside the new dairy barn at Ty Llwyd Farm in Riverhead. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Ty Llwyd, the only farm on Long Island to sell raw, unpasteurized milk, is nearing completion on a new dairy barn that could allow the Riverhead operation to double its output.

The 7,200-square-foot barn, made of wood, concrete and metal, can house up to 30 cows and is expected to be completed in January, said dairy farmer Chris Wines, whose parents Liz and David own the Sound Avenue farm.

Read more on northforker.

11/07/14 12:01pm
11/07/2014 12:01 PM
Gary Joyce of Aquebogue (left) and Ed Densieski of Riverhead sort through a catch. They said they often throw away more empty scallop shells than healthy keepers. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Gary Joyce of Aquebogue (left) and Ed Densieski of Riverhead sort through a catch. They said they often throw away more empty scallop shells than healthy keepers. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Early Monday morning, under cover of darkness and beneath a star-lit sky, Ed Densieski and Gary Joyce boarded their custom-outfitted boat, dressed head to toe in vibrant all-weather gear.

Unfazed by the blustery chill, the pair headed out through Southold Bay, with Brick Cove Marina at their backs.

It was the start of their 16th scalloping season and, as Mr. Densieski said, “There’s only one opening day.”  (more…)

09/24/14 8:00am
09/24/2014 8:00 AM
The Suffolk County Soil and Water District celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event last week. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The Suffolk County Soil and Water District celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event last week. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Before there was a state Department of Environmental Conservation tasked with protecting local soil and water resources, there was the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District. (more…)

09/18/14 2:00pm
09/18/2014 2:00 PM
Deer in the backyard of a Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Deer in the backyard of a Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Several farmers who were previously unable to receive deer damage permits to hunt on their property offseason now have the green light to do so.

Arising as an unintended consequence from a lawsuit aimed at a controversial deer cull, a state Supreme Court judge put a halt to new DDPs this March but temporarily lifted the order against the state Department of Environmental Conservation last week.  (more…)

09/12/14 8:00am
09/12/2014 8:00 AM
A buffalo calf feeds at North Quarter Farm in Riverhead Tuesday. Owner Ed Tuccio said the dry summer season decreased the newborn mortality rate. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

A buffalo calf feeds at North Quarter Farm in Riverhead Tuesday. Owner Ed Tuccio said the dry summer season decreased the newborn mortality rate. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The dog days of summer weren’t very dogged this year, at least not in terms of 90-plus degree days. That, combined with a lack of rain, created some ideal conditions for local produce and livestock farmers.

“Overall it has been tremendous for growing,” said Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau. “The quality of produce and fruit is unbelievable, actually. Just really magnificent crops.”  (more…)

09/11/14 2:00pm
09/11/2014 2:00 PM
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien examined hops at Farm to pint in Peconic. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Jaclyn Van Bourgondien examined hops at Farm to Pint in Peconic. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Hops farming, once prolific in New York State, has been making a comeback on the East End as farmers like Jaclyn Van Bourgondien and Andrew Tralka experiment with growing the ingredient, which is necessary to offset the sweetness of malt sugars in beer.  (more…)