The Work We Do: Emilie Zaweski, Farmer’s Kitchen

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My name is Emilie Zaweski and we’re at Farmer’s Kitchen, here in Riverhead. 

Farmer’s Kitchen is a production kitchen. We co-pack for other farmers and we create our own product. Basically, we started that to give value-added products to the farms. We co-pack for about 20 farms and we have about five individual clients that we do that are non-farm.

We are preserving the natural harvest and really having people be in touch with what is in season, what is not in season, and understanding that as well.

My background is in food. I did not grow up on a farm. Actually, I grew up [elsewhere] and I didn’t even know there were farms out here.

My husband, Mark, is a fourth-generation farmer. His great-great grandfather came over from Poland. Potatoes were big then and then everyone had kind of transferred from potatoes to a variety of different vegetables and then from there, speciality crops.

We’ve survived many generations on what we do, how we do it, and farmers are the best stewards of the land.

My job is really managerial. I don’t have to manage Mike, our production manager. He’s very talented; he manages the employees. I, basically, am in charge of everything else. Ordering, all the bookkeeping, the payroll. If I need to go pick up, like we need now, some more jalapeño peppers — any day-to-day operations that need to happen, that’s me. Website, sales, deliveries.

We currently are in 18 Stop & Shop stores, more in Western Suffolk.

We find, over the years, our unique pickled products are a big hit, such as a pickled kimchi, the cowboy candy, which is a pickled jalapeño, which is very sweet and hot at the same time. We have the traditional pickled beets, pickled cauliflower. We grow a lot of cippolini onions on our farm, so we pickle those and that’s a big hit as well. We do have jams. We have mustards.

Farmer’s Kitchen is really created from my love and passion of food, and eating healthy most of the time, but cooking — it’s simple and it’s easy to do and a lot of people don’t know that. My mission is not just showing people that preserving is good and extends the harvest, but even just go to your local farmer and eat their vegetables, whether they’re organic or not organic.

“The Work We Do” is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers around Riverhead Town.