Tag Archive | "local food"

Long Island Potato Festival Announces Winners of Mashed Potato Sculpting and Other Contests

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A contestant in the Mashed Potato Sculpting at this year's Long Island Potato Festival in Cutchogue.

A contestant in the Mashed Potato Sculpting at this year’s Long Island Potato Festival in Cutchogue. Photo by Karl Mischler.

By Tessa Raebeck

If there’s one thing Long Island’s good at, it’s potatoes. The first annual Long Island Potato Festival, celebrating the skill that creates such beloved gems as potato chips and French fries, kicked off Sunday, August 10, at the Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.

With contests like The Great Potato Peeling Race and Mashed Potato Sculpting, spud-lovers from across Long Island competed to prove their love for potatoes.

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The adult winner of the Mashed Potato Sculpting contest, “Rose” by Alexandra Palermo of Massapequa. Photo by Karl Mischler.

Peeling in Public, a team out of East Patchogue who peeled a whopping 261 ounces, won The Great Potato Peeling Race team trophy. The individual award went to Sinisa Savnik of Mastic, who peeled 97.8 ounces.

The Crazy Fork in Mattituck won the Best Potato Salad professional division with its stuffed potato salad, and Loretta Garland of Sayville took home the home cook division with “Moma Molloys Red Bliss Potato Salad.”

The trophies in Mashed Potato Sculpting in the child, youth and adult divisions went to a mashed potato sunflower, a puppy and a rose, respectively. The fastest adult in the Mashed Potato Eating contest was Matthew Galli of Greenlawn, who devoured the two pounds on his plate in two minutes and 14 seconds.

Clearly a big success, the Long Island Potato Festival is planning on returning next year with more contests and contestants and, you guessed it, potatoes.

Keep your eyes peeled to LIPotatoFest.com for updates.

Aquaponic Farming, Rooftop Garden Proposed for Sag Harbor’s Page at 63 Main

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By Tessa Raebeck

Hoping to join the growing farm-to-table food movement on the East End, Page at 63 Main has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming and a rooftop garden to enable the restaurant to grow its vegetables on site.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics and aquaculture in a symbiotic environment. Through hydroponics, plants are cultivated in water and aquatic animals (in this case fish) are raised through aquaculture. Aquaponics allows the water from the aquaculture system — filled with nutrients from fish by-products — to be then fed into the hydroponic system to fuel the growing plants.

Attorney Dennis Downes represented Gerard Wawryk, one of the owners of the Main Street, Sag Harbor restaurant, at a Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting Tuesday.

The building currently has a footprint of 3,860 square feet, an area the project would not alter. The building’s front portion is two stories, the middle section has a one-story frame and masonry structure and the rear section has two stories. The restaurant occupies the building’s ground floor and the second floor houses a residential apartment.

Although the footprint would not be changed, the proposal would add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not currently meet the full footprint) which would be added over the one story middle portion of the building and serve as a seeding area. A partial 481 square foot third floor over the rear potion of the building would serve as a greenhouse and the second story roof would house a garden.

“There is no change in parking or change in sewer,” Downes said Tuesday, adding that water in the tanks would not be going into the sewer as board members had previously wondered.

The plan was first introduced to the planning board in a work session November 26. At Tuesday’s meeting, Downes asked the board to adopt a resolution to send a 30-day letter for lead agency status and to allow the demolition of a gable roof.

Downes said renovations to the kitchen, which did not require approval, are underway and the applicants want to “put a solid roof on top of it that they can then incorporate it into a new building at a later date.”

The board adopted the resolution for lead agency status and entertained a motion to send a memo to building inspector Tim Platt allowing the demolition of the gable roof.

Planning board member Greg Ferraris asked Downes for documentation from an expert verifying the plan, in fact, has no effect to waste management and Downes replied he would have the sewer flow verified.

Preparing for Thanksgiving at North Sea Farms

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By Tessa Raebeck

When Richie King approaches the pen, the turkeys cannot contain their excitement. They flock towards the gate as he greets them and follow him around in a massive cluster. King appreciates the attention, but flattery can’t change the turkeys’ fate; with Thanksgiving around the corner, North Sea Farms and King’s Farm Stand in Southampton are in full preparation for the holiday season.

“A small farm with a little bit of everything,” North Sea Farms has been supplying East End families with their Thanksgiving turkeys since 1945. Richard King represents the third generation of the King family to work the land off Noyac Road, following in the footsteps of his father, Richard “Tate” King.

Brought to the farm as chicks in early July, some 700 turkeys are fully grown by mid-November. Their caretaking is fairly straightforward; the turkeys are fed and allowed to “run around outside,” according to Sam Dosch, who has been working on the farm since she was 14. Both King and Dosch maintain that the fresh feed and active lifestyle North Sea turkeys enjoy on the farm makes their taste – not to mention nutritional value – far superior to caged, mass-produced turkeys found elsewhere.

“It’s all about quality,” writes Julia King, an American College of Sports Medicine certified Health/Fitness specialist and Richie’s youngest daughter, on the farm’s blog on LocalHarvest.org. “It is time we all got back to basics with our food. By building relationships with your farmers you are building relationships with your food. And, as in any good relationship, if you take the time to nurture it, it will give back far more than ever expected.”

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The free-range, organic turkeys available on the farm range in size from 12 to 25 pounds. Some turkeys are naturally bigger, but activity and “which ones are pigs and eat more food” can also determine size, said Dosch. The main determinate of a larger sized turkey is simple: “they hang out a little longer,” according to Dosch.

With perceived cultural shifts away from eating meat and a new children’s film in theaters, “Free Bird,” about the plight of Thanksgiving Turkeys, King is wary that turkey sales will suffer this year, but Dosch is hopeful that social media outlets like the farm’s Facebook page will continue to draw new customers. If all else fails, North Sea Farms can always rely on the regulars, with countless local and visiting families returning every year.

“People kind of slowly start ordering in October,” said Dosch. “But then like a week or two before Thanksgiving, there’s a mad panic and that’s when the phone won’t stop.”

In addition to turkeys, North Sea Farms sells a wide variety of produce, fresh herbs and baked goods to fill Thanksgiving tables.

“We have everything but stuffing mix here for Thanksgiving,” said Dosch, who, while outlining the staples of a fresh and organic Thanksgiving table available in the shop, categorized the food not by type, but by the member of the King family who makes it.

Richie King’s wife, Robin, makes and sells her renowned cranberry sauce and may add homemade gravy to the line-up this season. Richie’s sister, Kathleen King, is the force behind Tate’s Bake Shop, named after her father and started out of the family farm stand when she was 11. She continues to supply King’s Farm Stand with all their baked goods, and an assortment of pies, tarts and other Thanksgiving treats are available for sale.

Most produce is grown on the farm and all of it is grown locally. Outside the shop’s entrance, wooden carts filled with colorful squash, pumpkins and other seasonal vegetables greet visitors. When families pick up their turkeys, they can explore the farm, learn about the day-to-day operations and visit the family’s two goats, Jiggy and Gilbert. Gilbert has been accompanying King to local schools and petting zoos for 13 years.

With cranberry sauce made by Robin, pumpkin pies baked by Kathleen and turkeys raised by Richie, the King family invites other families to enjoy their harvest as much as they do this holiday season.

North Sea Farms and King’s Farm Stand are located at 1060 Noyac Road in Southampton. For more information, call 283-0735 or visit their page on Facebook.

A Bounty of Baskets

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web baskets Local gift sets with heart and soul By Marissa Maier At the beginning of this week, Sag Harbor Florist & Gift Shop owner Anastasia Casale and her staff stocked, decorated and dispatched 50 customized gift baskets. And Casale’s phone is still ringing with calls for fresh orders. In the final countdown to the holidays she will whip up dozens of new creations of carefully arranged local cheeses, gourmet sweets, scented candles, handpicked wines and the occasional miniature poinsettia — all wrapped up and adorned with orchid stems. The local florist, Casale explained, has always been expected to create a last minute fruit basket but she along with other local businesses are elevating this service to a highly curated, and often personalized, collection of presents. “We wanted to offer something different and give the baskets a new spark,” Schiavoni’s IGA Market manager Matt Schiavoni remarked of the Sag Harbor grocery store’s line of themed gift baskets that were introduced this year. The prefabricated sets start at $49.95 for “The Hostess” which features a sampling of crackers, chocolates, fruits, nuts and three types of cheeses: Jarlsberg, Brie and Havarti. On the high end of this collection is the “Large Italian.” The basket is filled with goodies from the Mediterranean country like biscotti, risotto, olive oil, San Pellegrino mineral water and the IGA’s signature Italian coffee blend. Instead of the standard basket, the $89.95 set is arranged in a wicker tray. For the gift giver who prefers a local touch, IGA offers the “Hamptons Selection” for $59.95. The basket is composed of regionally produced foods like Mich’s Maccs chocolate macaroons, Hampton’s Coffee, North Fork chips, Really Good Jam from Cutchogue and Schiavoni’s Market nuts. Java Nation Coffee Roasters farther up Main Street infuse their baskets with in-house brews and teas. The business’ $26 small sampler includes a tin of Java Nation’s premium green tea blend, fudge truffles, a sachet of Chai tea, honey and a plaster mug. The more extensive $46 version adds chocolates, gourmet hot cocoa mixes, cookies and a travel mug. For the cafe connoisseur, Java Nation offers the $32 collection, which mixes staples like a half pound of the house blend and coffee filters with treats like hot cocoa and cookies. The Schmitz family, owners and operators of Sag Harbor Liquor Store on Main Street, will work up through Christmas Eve finishing their customized baskets. From a simple two bottle wine pair to a set filled with cheese, chocolates and fruit, the Schmitz’s accommodate each customer’s vision and budget. “We do it all,” Heidi Schmitz said of the store’s creations. The average basket of two bottles of wine and a few noshes costs around $50, she estimated, but noted that her family tries to work with every price point. While the pre-made glass and bottle gift sets tend to stay on the shelves, the store’s gift basket service is wildly popular. Schmitz believes East End customers prefer the personal touch of a tailor made gift basket. “We are in the basket market,” Michael Cavaniola remarked of the South Fork. Cavaniola owns the trio of eponymous Sag Harbor cheese, wine and food shops that sit in a row along Division Street and from real estate closings to construction companies, his team organizes gift arrangements throughout the year. And Cavaniola has put his own twist on the basket concept with sets that are either enclosed in a chicken wire container or laid out on a wood cutting board, then wrapped up and decorated. Each basket is personally built though the average, said Cavaniola, costs roughly $60. Unlike national businesses that specialize in pre-made gift baskets, local arrangements offer higher quality products and more of it, Cavaniola said. Casale agreed and added that her expertise is poured into each gift basket. Her sets cost $65 and up and are custom built to meet the customers’ criteria, be it a yoga theme or gluten free foods. She orders from a collection of purveyors and adds items sold in her Sag Harbor store such as candles, decorations and a signature line of French bonbons created by noted pastry chef Jean-François Bonnet. “It’s more special to shop locally,” Casale said. “There is a level of quality in these baskets. They are baskets with some heart and soul.” Sag Harbor Florist & Gift Shop – 3 Bay Street, Sag Harbor, 725-1400. Schiavoni’s IGA Market – 48 Main Street, Sag Harbor, 725-0366. Java Nation – 78 Main Street, Sag Harbor, 725-0500. Sag Harbor Liquor Store — 52 Main Street, Sag Harbor, 725-0054. Cavaniola’s Cheese Shop — 89 Division Street, Sag Harbor, 725-0095.