11/17/12 11:26am
11/17/2012 11:26 AM

More than seven hours after a Riverhead man who police said was driving drunk took out a utility pole in Baiting Hollow early Saturday morning a portion of Sound Avenue remained closed to traffic as the town awaits the arrival of a LIPA repair crew, police said.

Police charged Robert Weber, 26, with driving while intoxicated, according to the department. Mr. Weber was alone in the vehicle when it hit the pole at 3:30 a.m., said police. He was taken to police headquarters and held for arraignment.

Late Saturday morning Sound Avenue remained closed between Edwards and Fresh Pond Avenues with traffic diverted to Middle Country Road, said police.

10/06/12 4:00pm
10/06/2012 4:00 PM
Sound Avenue Nature Preserve, Baiting Hollow, Riverhead

BARBARELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rudy Goodale, 6, and his brother Gavin, 4, of Calverton play at the Sound Avenue Nature Preserve Saturday. Their mother, Kathy, is on the open space committee.

Riverhead Town’s first nature preserve was officially opened to the public Saturday morning by town Councilman James Wooten, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and members of the town’s open space committee.

Improvements on the 15-acre preserve off Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow — called the Sound Avenue Nature Preserve — include about a mile of mulched trails and native shrub plantings.

Future improvements will include benches, birdhouses and educational kiosks.

A small barn on the property will be cleaned out and used for educational field trips.

The improvements to the site were funded using $75,000 from Community Preservation Fund proceeds. That money comes from a tax on real estate transfers within the town and must be used for farmland or open space preservation.

Plans for the preserve have been in the works since June 2010.

Mr. Wooten thanked all the town departments who came together to help with the project, including the engineering, highway and building and grounds departments.

“We wanted to preserve it but also to let people enjoy it for education, recreation and solitude,” Mr. Wooten said.

“A place to come to for reflection.”


Sound Avenue Nature Preserve, Riverhead, Baiting Hollow

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The chairman of the town’s open space committee, Charles Cetas (left), and other committee members and town officials Saturday at the preserve.

08/08/12 5:20pm
08/08/2012 5:20 PM

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | LiV owner Richard Stabile with casks of the company’s new single malt whiskey.

Long Island Vodka, the island’s first and only distillery, was recently awarded a double gold medal in a blind American-made vodka tasting contest hosted by thefiftybest.com, ranking them fourth out of 20 contenders.

The domestic vodkas were served blindly to 19 judges, who scored the vodkas on a one to five scoring scale with five being the best.

Long Island Vodka came in fourth, with another New York vodka, Peace, claiming the first-place spot.

Peace is made from locally grown wheat in Bethel, New York and pure Catskill mountain water.

Read more about LiV by clicking here

08/05/12 9:34am
08/05/2012 9:34 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead residents Carrie Savonije (from left), Wayne Piaskowski, and Don and Erika Miller toast to the beer sampler they were going to share in a tasting, which included beers from Long Ireland Brewery, Greenport Harbor Brewery and Southampton Publik House, in the new North Fork Tasting room Saturday afternoon. It had its grand opening party at Baiting Hollow Commons Friday evening.

There’s a new place in town for North Fork food and wine lovers.

The North Fork Tasting Room, located in the same shopping center as Lobster Roll Northside and the Gingerbread Factory in Baiting Hollow, opened its doors Saturday afternoon. Owner Fred Terry said the store is a “labor of love” that will introduce new local wines to tourists and residents alike.

“This will be particularly a conduit for wineries and future breweries that are off the beaten track, because we are on the beaten track,” Mr. Terry said.

In addition to wine sales by the glass, the store will use Lobster Roll Northside’s kitchens to make a variety of Mr. Terry’s family recipes, from huckleberry pies and other baked goods to smoked meats and fish.

“It’s something that I wanted to do since the inception of this [restaurant] and that’s more culinary arts, more food,” he said. “The
tasting room is as much food tasting as it is beverage tasting, for me.”

06/21/12 8:00pm
06/21/2012 8:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Lobster Roll Northside owner Fred Terry and his stepdaughter and assistant manager Dana Bordsen discussing what colors the tasting room walls will be painted.

Fred Terry is ready to try something new.

The restaurateur, who runs the Lobster Roll Northside and the nearby Gingerbread Factory in Baiting Hollow, said his latest project, the upcoming North Fork Tasting Room, will be as much about tasting family recipes and baked goods as it is about sampling all that the North Fork’s wineries and breweries have to offer.

But most important, Mr. Terry said, the food and drink shop will be a “labor of love.”

“It’s something that I wanted to do since the inception of this [restaurant],” he said, “and that’s more culinary arts, more food. The tasting room is as much food tasting as it is beverage tasting, for me.”

The North Fork Tasting Room, located in the same shopping area as the Lobster Roll Northside, will use the existing restaurant’s kitchens to make a variety of Mr. Terry’s family recipes, from huckleberry pies and other baked goods to smoked meats and fish.

Mr. Terry said he hopes to roll out a brand for selling some of these family recipes, some of which date back hundreds of years to Mr. Terry’s ancestors, who were among the first settlers on the North Fork.

He also wants to run small “beer and wine education” classes in the tasting room to teach people about the differences among local wines while offering them “every Long Island wine.”

Mr. Terry said the tasting room will not sell wines by the bottle but will instead refer tourists to some of the smaller wineries.

“Customers will have the opportunity to taste some of the differences,” he said. “This will be particularly a conduit for wineries and future breweries that are off the beaten track, because we are on the beaten track.”

Mr. Terry, who had been “semi-retired” from the restaurant business, said he was pulled back in after the unexpected death in 2010 of his oldest son, Frederick Terry II, who had been general manager of Lobster Roll Northside.

“I’m reminded of the picture ‘Cat Ballou,’ where the gunslinger had to do push-ups to get back in shape to be a gunslinger,” he said. “That’s where I am now. I’m doing push-ups.”

Mr. Terry said his stepdaughter, Dana, and son Sean will manage the retail shop year-round and added that he’s looking forward to dusting off old recipes to mix and match with local drinks.

“It’s more play than work,” he said. “If I felt it was going to be a huge amount of work, I probably wouldn’t be doing it.”

The North Fork Tasting Room is expected to open by mid-July.


06/12/12 6:50pm
06/12/2012 6:50 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | John King, left, and Long Island Farm Bureau president Joe Gergela at Tuesday's open house.

J. Kings Food Service Professionals hosted an open house at the company’s proposed “Grapes and Greens agricultural enterprise terminal” on Sound Avenue in Calverton, which had run into opposition when a neighbor filed a lawsuit claiming it is not permitted by zoning.

The proposed facility is located in the former Blackman’s Plumbing building on 2711 Sound Avenue in Calverton, an area sometimes called Baiting Hollow.

Whether or not it meets zoning is the subject of a Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on Thursday night at 7:15 p.m.

Company owner John King said he is in contract to buy the 108,000-square-foot building for use as a vegetable processing plant as well as for storing wine and cases of produce.

The storage area will will occupy only 8,630 square feet of the building but will enable farmers to get more value for their product, he said.

Currently, J. Kings does these functions at a facility in Bay Shore, among other things. The entire vegetable processing operation is proposed to be moved to the Calverton site in order to be nearer to local farms.

Mr. King said he doesn’t buy any farm produce from Long Island farms through the Bay Shore plant as of now, because Long Island farms lack the proper cooling and processing facilities to extend the life of the produce.

Properly cooled vegetables can extend their shelf lives by three times, he said.

This enables farmers to get more value for the products, said Joe Gergela, the executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, which supports the proposed facility.

“This is about trying to keep this industry alive on Long Island and here on the East End,” Mr. Gergela said. “It is very difficult to farm on Long Island. We want to see profits on the farms.”

Mr. King said he employs 400 people in the Bay Shore plant and has a weekly payroll of $360,000.

“That’s not [at] Kmart salaries,” he said, emphasizing the fact that his company would be bringing well-paying jobs to the East End, should the project be approved.

Work on opening the proposed plant was set back when a neighbor challenged the town building department’s issuance of a building permit for the plant, claiming it is not permitted by zoning. Neighbor Austin Warner, who owns the property next door, went to court and forced a town Zoning Board of Appeals ruling on the issue.

Councilman John Dunleavy also addressed the crowd of mostly farmers at Tuesday’s open house.

“This is going to help our economy,” he said. “We have to get behind these businesses and not try to stop them.”

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who had raised questions about the project, said she spoke with Paulette Satur of Satur Farms in Cutchogue — at the open house event — and was told Ms. Satur wanted to run an agricultural processing plant at the Blackman Plumbing building a year earlier and was told she needed to go to the ZBA.

“I think fair process should apply across the board for everybody,” Ms. Giglio said, adding that she thinks the processing plant is a “great use” for the building.

Ms. Satur said afterwards that she didn’t say exactly what Ms. Giglio said she did. She said she was not told outright she had to go to the ZBA, and that she never really got that far into the process, because she wanted to rent the building and Blackman wanted to sell.

Mr. King said the zoning permits farming, and he believes that includes processing agriculture.

Mr. Gergela said the state definition of agriculture includes marketing.


04/20/12 5:16pm
04/20/2012 5:16 PM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | LiV owner Richard Stabile with casks of the company's new single malt whisky.

The makers of Long Island’s first vodka have expanded their offerings, moving beyond potato-based spirits to embrace barley.

LiV, Long Island’s first and only distillery, just released a 150-case micro batch of the region’s first and only locally produced single-malt whiskey, a 95 proof spirit.

“It’s brand-spanking-new,” said LiV owner Richard Stabile. The first batch of the malted barley liquor was released in New York a few weeks ago.

Marketed under the name “Pine Barrens,” bottles of LiV’s inaugural whiskey batch are still available for purchase in 375 mL “mickeys” at some local liquor stores.

Because only a small amount of Pine Barrens has been distilled, availability is limited. Before LiV’s next batch of 100 cases is released in May, tasting samples are available at LiV’s Baiting Hollow tasting room, accompanied by pine cone shot glasses crafted specifically for the product, but their stock had already sold out by April 11.

“I’ve always been a whiskey fan,” said Mr. Stabile. “But we wanted to do something different with ours. Most American whiskeys are bourbon-style, made from corn, and there’s a lot of ryes out there. We wanted to do a scotch-style whiskey, single malt, but rather than develop our own peated malt, we thought it would be unique if we used a commercially finished beer. Nobody else does this, that we know of.”

The beer they chose was Blue Point’s Old Howling Bastard, described as an American barleywine that, according to tasters on beeradvocate.com, has notes of honey and caramel.

“All whiskeys start out as beer, but 99.999 percent of those beers are undrinkable before you distill them,” said Mr. Stabile. “We started our whiskey-making process with a great, high quality, drinkable beer and distilled it in micro batches.”

The process of developing Pine Barrens began in late 2009 when LiV held discussions with the Blue Point Brewing Company about cooperating to create a whiskey. Experimentation followed, and cotinued until the beginning of 2011, when the distillation and aging of batch No. 1 began.

850 gallons of Blue Point’s Old Howling Bastard was first distilled down to roughly 100 gallons of 160 proof alcohol. It was then blended down to 125 proof with purified water and placed into 10-gallon casks for two months. Then the alcohol was removed only long enough to blend it down to 95 proof before it was placed back into the barrels to age for another 10 months.

“Because of the small size of our new American oak casks, the surface area that touches the whiskey is increased and allows for a 5-1 maturation process,” Mr. Stabile said. The significance is the one year LiV aged its whiskey in 10 gallon casks is equivalent to a five-year maturation process in a 50-gallon cask, he added.

“Normal American whiskeys come out a little younger, in the two- to four-year range, but this is a full-bodied, very complex spirit produced in just a year,” he said. “It’s just got an incredible taste profile. The nose is very welcoming and it has a smooth, polished finish. It’s very, very sweet.”

Three-year LiV distiller Jonathan Bittner, a 25-year-old Cutchogue resident, said he was “very impressed” with the premiere batch.

“It tops a lot of the whiskeys I’ve ever tried,” he said.

LiV became Long Island’s first craft distillery in 2006 with its first vodka, which hit the market in June 2008. Mr. Stabile has been the company’s sole owner for the past two and a half years. He the lack of competition in the local market allows LiV to take its time developing products.

“We spent a lot of time experimenting with Blue Point before we got going,” Mr. Stabile said, “But we’re just blown away with what we came up with.”


02/11/12 5:00pm
02/11/2012 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN PHOTO | Vicki DeRosa of Wading River gives out tastings of red mulled wine.

Nearly 300 people turned out at Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard Saturday for one of the first shows of Winterfest 2012.

Richard Rubin, the winery’s CEO, said this year’s kickoff was more successful than last year despite the light snow that covered the North Fork earlier in the day.

“Bad weather tends to put a lot of fear in people, but we’re very thrilled with the turnout,” he said. “It just shows that Winterfest is a really popular event that people look forward to.”

There are 71 concerts set for this year’s Jazz on the Vine series, the most in the annual event’s five-year history.

Some 6,000 people in total flocked to East End for last year’s concerts, and Winterfest organizers expect that number to grow this year. Tickets to all Winterfest concerts are $15 and include a glass of wine.

In addition to the Winterfest activities, the Baiting Hollow Vineyard offered barrel tastings of its 2010 Red Velvet wine, which will be available for sale this summer. The tastings were paired with mini Red Velvet cupcakes.

Denise and Nate Brauner, a married couple from Brooklyn who learned about Winterfest through a Groupon offer, described the Red Velvet wine as “stunning.”

“Everything has been perfect,” Ms. Braunner said. “We’re having a great time. The wine, music and atmosphere is fantastic.”

The Christine Spero Group, a music group from the Catskills area, had its first Winterfest experience this Saturday at the Sound Avenue vineyard.

The group’s leader, Elliot Spero, described the event’s turnout as “wonderful.”

“This is a great crowd,” Mr. Spero said during an intermission. “It took us four hours to get here because of the weather, but it was worth it.

“The snow made it into a true Winterfest.”


Check back at suffolktimes.com for more Winterfest photos.