09/04/15 4:37pm
09/04/2015 4:37 PM

Apples on the North Fork are ripe for the picking (Credit: Monique Singh-Roy)

While the beach and backyard barbecue will be on many people’s mind’s this Labor Day weekend, apple picking season has begun.

That’s right, at least three farms have either already started apple picking or will kick it off this weekend,  including Harbes Family Orchard. READ

07/02/15 2:39pm
07/02/2015 2:39 PM
On Thursday, Scott DuBois at Breeze Hill Farm was selling corn he purchased from Georgia, but by Friday or Saturday, he will begin selling his own corn — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

On Thursday, Scott DuBois at Breeze Hill Farm was selling corn he purchased from Georgia, but by Friday or Saturday, he will begin selling his own corn — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

Fret not, barbecue lovers of the North Fork: you should be able to enjoy local corn during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

Despite a brutal winter and a somewhat rainy June, several local farms said they have already begun harvesting corn — and they’re anticipating plenty of demand over the next few days.

“We just pulled some [Thursday] morning and it’s looking very good,” said Herbert Barron, an attendant at Wesnofske Farm in Peconic. “They look very good despite the rough winter. Actually, they look better than last year, in my opinion … For early stuff, it’s quite large.” (more…)

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.”

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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…)