A locavore’s paradise

09/09/2010 12:00 AM |

Members of North Fork Reform Synagogue have a lot on their plates these days, planning for both the High Holy Days and their fourth annual tour of local food producers and purveyors, which gives the community a taste of what the land here provides and an understanding of how that makes the North Fork unique.

The synagogue’s North Fork Foodie Tour, to be held Sunday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., features tours of farms and, for the first time, includes cooking demonstrations by two local chefs. The event kicks off at Charnews Farm on Youngs Avenue in Southold.

“Judaism’s mandate is to help to repair the world, and from there we get into the green movement, ecology and the local farming community, working with them to preserve the family farm,” said Sylvia Pafenyk, one of the event’s organizers.

Though this is the first year that chefs will participate in the tour, the number of growers and purveyors is similar to previous years. But four stops have been added: Sacred Sweets in Greenport, McCall Wines and Cattle Ranch in Cutchogue, North Fork Egg Farm in Southold and Krupski’s Vegetable and Pumpkin Farm in Peconic. Most of these are closer to tour headquarters than some of the previous years’ venues.

“We were trying to condense the distance. People were having trouble going all the way to the bison farm, and two other places in Riverhead,” said Ms. Pafenyk. “It was more than people could do in a day. But we still have as many choices for people.”

North Fork Egg Farm in Southold has free-range hens, which are fed organic grain and graze on untreated, unfertilized pastureland. There, visitors will be able to gather their own eggs and hear owner Marilyn Psasierb explain different chicken breeds and how they are raised. Krupski’s Vegetable and Pumpkin Farm is working to keep the family farm alive by diversifying crops, increasing its retail presence and using succession planting. McCall Wines, a 100-acre farmstead in Cutchogue, produces wines that are served at fine restaurants in Manhattan and also raises grass-fed Charolais cattle, a French breed known for its low-fat meat.

Sacred Sweets, a new confectionery in Greenport, is owned by Miche Bacher, who uses natural and organic ingredients to create unique cakes, cookies, chocolates and confections. She will give demonstrations of her craft.

“We want visitors to gain an appreciation of the hard work and the ethic of our local vendors who are trying to retain the natural order of things,” said Ms. Pafenyk. “All the members of the synagogue are docents at each location. We’re a very small congregation. It isn’t easy to staff the event, so our friends and neighbors help out.”

Tom Schaudel is the former owner and chef of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport and is now chef at A Mano in Mattituck. At 1 p.m. he will demonstrate the preparation of his fettuccini carbonara with pancetta, taleggio, smoked duck and black pepper at Charnews Farm. He’ll be followed at 3 by John Ross, a restaurateur, chef, cookbook author and food columnist, who will speak on the evolution of the North Fork as a culinary region, and sign copies of his cookbooks. North Fork Table and Inn restaurant will prepare takeout lunch orders in its new parking lot wagon at Charnews Farm as well.

Also on the tour is Catapano Dairy in Peconic, where goats are raised for fresh milk cheeses, yogurts, fudge and goat’s milk skin-care products. Sang Lee Farms, also in Peconic, grows heirloom tomatoes of every color and shape, Asian vegetables, herbs, flowers and baby greens. Satur Farms, owned by New York chef Eberhard Múller and his wife, Paulette Satur, grows mesclun, heirloom tomatoes and herbs of high quality. Koppert Cress in Cutchogue is world-renowned for its micro-vegetables, herbs used for medicinal purposes, edible flowers and heirloom tomatoes.

DeKalb Gold chickens roam free and make nests in the earth outside their coops at Ty Llwyd Farm in Riverhead. Ty Llwyd, which has been an active farm since 1870, also raises ducks and geese and grows vegetables and unusual varieties of potatoes.

At Lavender By the Bay in Orient, foodies will find fresh-cut and dried lavender, sundries made from lavender and honey made by bees that feast on the lavender. At Pipes Cove Oysters in Greenport they’ll learn how the shellfish are grown, harvested and shucked.

Also on the tour are Croteaux Vineyards in Southold, which specializes in rosà wine, and Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, which makes innovative use of sustainable farming practices. Visitors are also urged to stop in at A Taste of the North Fork on Peconic Lane for jams, jellies, chutney, mustards, marmalades, relish and desserts.

Peconic Land Trust, which owns and leases the land at Charnews Farm, will also have information about the slow food movement at the tour headquarters, where visitors will receive brochures with maps and detailed information about the times of tours at the different venues.

“It’s an opportunity to see some places that are not usually open to the public and to actually meet the people who make our lives possible and beautiful here on the North Fork,” said Ms. Pafenyk. “We hope everyone will have a wonderful experience.”


Sunday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Headquarters at Charnews Farm, Youngs Avenue, Southold.

Tickets: $25 for adults; children under 12 are free. Tickets available at Gallery M in Greenport, Complement the Chef in Southold, Cecily’s Love Lane Gallery in Mattituck and Barth’s Pharmacy in Riverhead or online at northforkreformsynagogue.org.

Tour maps and tickets also available the day of the tour at Charnew’s Farm and at each tour location. Call 722-5712 for more information.