This time of year it is impossible to not be aware of the abundance of local produce and food products at our fingertips. Whether realized or not by the masses, the gift of having dedicated farmers, gardeners, foragers and cheese makers working seven days a week to provide sustenance and a critical economy to the East End of Long Island is not something that is lost on us.
We have much to be grateful for. Organizations like the Peconic Land Trust, the Amagansett Food Institute and the Long Island Farm Bureau coupled with local farmers and our towns that have supported them ensure our rich agricultural heritage is not lost. For the fishermen and women, and baymen who have protected a way of life, but also a critical service, we could not be more thankful.
Listening to one of the great chefs in this country, Thomas Keller, speak last week about his personal relationships with artisanal food purveyors and farmers, it was impossible to not feel gratitude for what we have on the North and South Forks. Whether family farmers, or those new to the field, in the last decade the breadth of products available to home cooks and chefs alike is unreachable in most communities.
And for that we are grateful, for we know it comes for most with a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears and the results are extraordinary.
The next time you are in your local fish market, farmers’ market or farm stand, local poultry store or purchasing a hunk of fragrant, creamy local cheese, remember these artisans are not only preserving a way of life on the East End, but are feeding you and your family. It’s hard work, a relationship worth foraging and not one worth haggling over, especially over the price of a tomato.