Early Thursday afternoon, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski climbed aboard a barge and headed into the Peconic Bay. Their mission: to harvest sugar kelp, a type of seaweed.
The officials participated in the first harvest of Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program’s pilot Peconic Estuary Seaweed Aquaculture Feasibility Study, which is funded in part through Suffolk County.
In an area where some farm families measure their lineage in centuries, new North Fork agricultural operations are launching all the time.
From Wading River to Orient, a handful of startup farms and nurseries plant or sell their first crops each year.
They start off with a business plan and a dream, hoping to carve out their niche in the agricultural legacy of the North Fork.
Since 2012, the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium has been saving thousands of local and international heirloom vegetable seeds, as well as some flowers, with an eye toward preserving a sustainable food culture. But those seeds need a secure home where they can be safely stored, organized and distributed to be grown by generations to come. READ
At age 8, Nick Krupski began helping out on his family’s farm — picking, planting and playing in the soil, as well as learning to drive in a five-speed pickup. READ
Jonathan Wickham remembers that at age 14, maybe younger, he was involved in planning for the estate tax on his family’s 300-acre fruit farm — something the average teen might never have to think about. READ
Many farmers across the East End of Long Island are hoping their congressman will push for immigration reform in order to stabilize the local agricultural industry’s workforce and allow them to hire enough workers.
More than a dozen farmers, most from the East End, spoke at a Tuesday public hearing in Hauppauge in support of a proposed Suffolk County law that would sidestep a New York State Supreme Court ruling that deems development on protected farmland illegal.
Jeff Rottkamp, owner of Fox Hollow Farm in Baiting Hollow, had been preparing to join Suffolk County’s farmland preservation program. But those plans changed in September, when a New York State Supreme Court judge deemed development on protected farmland illegal.