Tag Archive | "North Fork"

North Fork Helicopter Panel

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South Fork residents aren’t the only people complaining about helicopter noise. Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork, and the Southold Town Board will discuss that very topic at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 11.

Speakers will include Adam Santiago, the district director for U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s office, Kyle Strober, the director of the Long Island District Office for Senator Charles Schumer, and Debbie Tinnirello, Long Island regional director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition, several citizen advisory committee  members from communities of the South Fork will provide their perspective as well as airplane pilot Joseph Fishetti.

In an effort to accommodate all interested parties, panelists will speak for a total of five minutes and residents will have three minutes to ask questions or offer comments.

The meeting will take place at the town’s Recreation Center at 970 Peconic Lane in Peconic.

“Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” Hits East End Farmers Markets This Weekend

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Food Book Cover


The cover of “The Delicious Nutritious FoodBook.” Photography by Ellen Watson.

By Mara Certic

The days of mystery meat at school lunch seem mercifully to be coming to an end.  Since First Lady Michelle Obama began updating the White House vegetable garden in 2008 and started the “get moving” campaign, school lunches have steadily been improving and there seems to be a new focus on nutrition and health all around the country.

This is not necessarily a new trend; schools such as Ross have had the means to provide healthy, balanced meals for their students for years. Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz taught Landscape Design at the Ross School before moving to the Bridgehampton School District. Upon changing jobs, she noticed a disparity in the quality of food at the two schools.

“I thought that was fundamentally unfair,” she said, “Food should be a right, not a privilege.” Through her position as a nutrition and culinary arts teacher, she worked with various edible school garden groups on the East End in an effort to teach children about healthy food.

When she was teaching nutrition and culinary arts at Bridgehampton, she said she noticed that even after her hard work, students were going home and eating unhealthy dinners. She decided that she wanted to “remove all obstacles of good eating,” and create an accessible way to educate parents and children alike about what, how and why they should be eating.

Now, after two years of planning, compiling and raising money through a Kickstarter campaign, the “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” is available for everyone.

“It demystifies nutrition and cooking,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said of the 96-page color book that resembles the Edible East End magazine. “We kept saying we really want something that looks great,” she said.fruits & veggies

Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz and her team sought out healthy recipes from parents, students and teachers in the Edible School Garden network as well as from chefs at some of the best restaurants on the East End. Elementary, middle and high school students have their recipes printed right alongside those from Sen, Nick & Toni’s and many others.

The “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” is much more than a cookbook though, she said. “What we wanted to do was talk about what is food rather than tell you how to make stir-fried chicken,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said. With production manager Annie Bliss and art director Kathleen Bifulco (and other contributors) she put together a sort of how-to guide to buying food, growing food and cooking and enjoying it.

The book begins with an introduction to “what food is” as well as a handy list of the things that should always be stocked in a pantry. Another section on “how to source food” provides information on the differences between growing food (as well as helpful gardening tips), eating local foods and buying produce in supermarkets. In the section of breakfast, the book talks about the importance of the first meal of the day, including research from the American Dietetic Association that mentions many benefits of eating a hearty meal in the morning. Sections on greens, beans, meat, fish and grains follow, with recipes and helpful tips guiding the reader along the way.

The recipes are not always strict, but are more there to provide certain guidelines, “Part of what we’re trying to tell people is that you don’t always have to know what a quarter cup is,” said Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz.

A whole slew of recipes from “101 Salads” by food journalist, author and New York Times columnist  Mark Bittman are included in the book under the “Eat the Rainbow” section, which discusses the phytonutrients and the reasons why one should eat different colored foods. Mr. Bittman’s recipes are short, unintimidating and do not require any measuring: “Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil and basil or cilantro.”

There is a two-pronged approach to selling and distributing the “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said. When school starts in the fall, the book will be available for purchase at back-to-school nights and similar events for the nominal fee of $1, which the school will be able to keep for its own purposes.

Funding the book through a Kickstarter campaign means that there are no residual costs to cover. But Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz has decided to expand the project and so, starting this weekend, the book will be available to all at farmers markets on the North and South Forks with a donation of $10 to Edible School Gardens, Ltd. “We want to use these funds to print more copies and maybe we could do a Spanish language version of it,” she said.

“What I would also love to do is get this to Southampton Hospital,” she said. All of the proceeds from those sales will go toward expansion of the project.

The book will be available for purchase at the following farmers markets: Montauk, East Hampton, Shelter Island, Hampton Bays, Hayground School, Flanders, Mattituck and Greenport. It will also be available at the Balsam Farms farm stand in Amagansett, Serene Green in Sag Harbor and at the North Fork Table & Inn farmers market in Southold.






Sag Harbor’s Modern Day Rum Runners

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Mike McQuade and Jason Laan with their Sag Harbor Rum, photographed at Murf's Tavern in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Mike McQuade and Jason Laan with their Sag Harbor Rum, photographed at Murf’s Tavern in Sag Harbor on Saturday.









By Annette Hinkle; Michael Heller photography

Since its heyday as a 19th century whaling port, Sag Harbor has built a reputation as a hard-working town with a penchant for spirits — in more ways than one.

So perhaps it was inevitable in this day of micro-brews and locally sourced food stuffs that someone would produce a drink that evokes the flavor of yesterday.

Business partners Jason Cyril Laan and Michael McQuade are doing just that with Sag Harbor Rum, a decidedly 21st century twist on that most sea-faring of beverages.

The inaugural batch of Sag Harbor Rum is about six weeks from release and is now aging in old bourbon barrels, having been infused with exotic spices and fruits like ginger, black cherry, vanilla, pineapple and a touch of walnut and coffee.

Expect Sag Harbor Rum to hit the shelves of local liquor stores, bars and restaurants sometime in mid-May. A 750 ml bottle is expected to retail for $37 and a total of 6,000 bottles are being produced in this first batch of rum.

For Mr. Laan, it’s about time.

“I’ve been a life-long rum drinker and part of the Sag Harbor sailing community and I felt Sag Harbor was missing its own rum,” says Mr. Laan. “Mike and I worked at Murph’s together last summer and we wanted to do a liquor evoking the spirit of Sag Harbor with its whaling tradition — it’s perfect for an amber rum.”

“We’re not in the liquor marketing business,” he adds. “We’re bartenders who felt the East End needed its own rum.”

“We’ve been coming up with the concepts and we thought about it for a while,” says Mr. McQuade.

Laan brings a fair amount of knowledge to the distilling process, having lived in Amsterdam for six years where he ran a bar with a friend and produced a private label vodka. For Sag Harbor Rum, he and Mr. McQuade are partnering with Baiting Hollow-based Long Island Spirits and Rich Stabile, who brings 20 years of his own experience as a master distiller to the process.

While many big distillers want consistency of flavor in their spirits, Mr. Laan and Mr. McQuade are hoping for the exact opposite with Sag Harbor Rum.

“We’re doing batch numbers and we expect each to be slightly different and have its own profile,” explains Mr. Laan.

Of course, any sailor worth his sea-salt knows rum is made from sugar — not exactly a locally sourced crop. In the old days, seafarers provisioned rum when their ships called at ports in the Caribbean, storing it in whatever empty barrels were on hand. Over time, the rum naturally took on the flavor of the barrel along with whatever fruit or spices had previously been stored in it.

Mr. Laan and Mr. McQuade are using pretty much that same technique in producing Sag Harbor Rum.

“We’ve imported the rum from Trinidad,” explains Mr. Laan. “It’s distilled five times —which means you’re getting the purest rum. We import it at a large volume and put it in bourbon barrels to age here for about six months.”

Mr. Laan explains that initially, the rum doesn’t have much flavor when it arrives from Trinidad and only gains that with time.

“Most alcohols — including whisky or bourbon — get their color and flavor from the wood,” explains Mr. Laan who adds that botanicals such as spices, peppers and fruit are often added in the process. “We’re setting ourselves apart. Instead of traditional tropical flavors, we’re doing nuts, coffee and ginger.”

While there may come a day when Mr. Laan and Mr. McQuade will be able to infuse their rum with locally grown botanicals, for now, the pair are just excited about seeing their first batch of Sag Harbor Rum make it to market.

“We wanted a rum that was a great stand alone — a great sipping rum that mixes well with cocktails or tastes good on its own,” says Mr. Laan. “Because we’re doing small batches and because of the aging process, we wanted that hand-made artisanal feel, which is a bit of a trend right now.”

That feel extends to the hand-drawn label design on the bottle itself — which sports a whale, naturally.

“We’re going around doing pre-sales old school style — door to door, bar to bar — asking people if they’ll take a bottle or do a tasting at liquor stores,” says Mr. Laan. “It’s nice to see these micro industries — that’s what we want to fit into.”

“We don’t want to go outside the South Fork in the first year.”

To learn more about Sag Harbor Rum, visit sagharborrum.com or find them on Facebook.

Sag Harbor Rum Scuttlehole Special 

½ oz Vervino Vermouth – Channing Daughters Winery

2 oz Sag Harbor Rum

2 oz San Pellegrino Limonata

Splash of Bitters

The Montauk to Manhattan – a Rum Manhattan

2½ oz Sag Harbor Rum

½ oz Sweet Vermouth

2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Shake over ice and serve with a cherry of choice


Winterfest: Live on the Vine Brings Six Weekends of Wine and Music to the North Fork

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Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks Perform at the Live on the Vine Kick-off Event January 17 at the Suffolk Theater. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks Perform at the Live on the Vine Kick-off Event January 17 at the Suffolk Theater. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

By Tessa Raebeck

Blues, soul, rock, jazz and country music are awakening the vineyards of the North Fork this winter as Winterfest: Live on the Vine combines over 100 musical performances with the natural beauty and exceptional wines of the East End.

Started as Jazz on the Vine in 2006, the annual six-week music festival returns this year as Live on the Vine, with a wider range of musicians, including many Grammy recipients and Grammy-nominated artists, performing at local hotels, restaurants, vineyard tasting rooms and other venues. Designed to stimulate local businesses – and entertain local residents – during the off-season, the festival offers countless specials on accommodations, restaurants and transportation for ticket holders, including ‘Winterfest Getaway’ package deals. Hopper Passes, new this year, allow festivalgoers to see multiple performances in a single day, weekend or throughout the entire festival, without paying separate entrance fees at each show.

Winterfest: Live on the Vine kicked off January 17 at the Suffolk Theater with a sold-out performance by blues-rock icon Johnny Winter. The music continues with multiple performances each day over six weekends, ending Saturday, March 22.

This Friday on Valentine’s Day, the Alexander Clough Trio, a jazz ensemble from Brooklyn, will play a free show at Bistro 72, a restaurant and lounge at Hotel Indigo in Riverhead from 7 to 10 p.m. Also in Riverhead at the Suffolk Theater, Myq Kaplan of Comedy Central’s show “Last Comic Standing” will present a stand-up routine, “Valentine’s Candlelight Comedy,” with dancing to follow.

Throughout the day on Saturday, February 15, 10 North Fork vineyards are hosting shows, with a performance by Gene Casey & The Lone Sharks at the Hotel Indigo Ballroom in Riverhead closing out the day. Another 10 concerts are scheduled for Sunday.

General Admission tickets for Winterfest: Live on the Vine cost $20 and include a glass of wine. Hopper passes do not include wine and are $30 for the day, $50 for the weekend or $200 for the entire six-week festival. For more information, visit liwinterfest.com.

South Fork Gas Prices Drop

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.  announced late last week his most recent survey of gasoline prices. According to that survey, South Fork prices have declined $0.08 since the last survey late in October.

Long Island prices have increased by $0.09 cents during the same period. South Fork prices are now $0.03 cents above the state and Long Island average. South Fork gas prices were $0.20 cents higher than the Long Island average in October. That differential has decreased by $0.17 cents since October when it was $0.20 cents.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) provides for a regional survey on New York State gasoline prices. However, there is no survey solely for the South Fork. Thiele’s survey also includes prices in western Southampton along Montauk Highway.

“The average price for East Hampton and Southampton along Montauk Highway excluding Amagansett and Montauk is now $3.69,” said Thiele.  “The average price for Amagansett and Montauk is $4.09. A gallon of gas on the North Fork is now about $3.59. The LI average is $3.66 and the State average is $3.66.”

A Camp For Wine: The Making of an Oenophile

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The Lenz Winery tasting room—snuggly nestled into a flat backdrop of 70 acres of endless rows of perfectly symmetrical vines—is a wide-open space with a long wooden table, silver spitting vessels and a patient sommelier, ready to serve.  Like many tasting rooms, the space itself is non-descript; but the adjectives it invokes more than make up for it.

Apples, apricots, bananas, grapefruit, lemon, tannins, PH, tobacco, butter, toast. The colorful words that bounce around these walls are as random and disparate as a Shakespearean potion.  Perhaps you too have found yourself wondering where these seemingly ridiculous terms actually come from.

Homing in on the answer to this question is, in part, the impetus behind Wine Camp, a four-day journey through some of the vineyards of the North Fork.  With carefully mapped-out itineraries in hand, “campers” are exposed to all aspects of viticulture, from grapevine history, to climatology, grape juice chemistry, vineyard management, the difference between wood and steel barrels, the art of blending, and even vine clipping.

“I had this vision of hands-on learning,” said Darolyn Augusta, who founded the camp seven years ago with her husband, Christopher, with whom she also runs a bed and breakfast in Peconic called The Harvest Inn.  The idea sprang forth after Darolyn took a course on winemaking through the Long Island Wine Council.  While the class was informative, she said, the information didn’t readily sink in.  “What I wanted was a learning experience.”  So, after talking to several of the North Fork winemakers themselves, she arranged for a camp that would give people an intimate look at the whole process.

In fact, Darolyn has taken me to the winery today to give me a sense of what a wine camper might do.  After sipping a fine 2004 Cuvée in the tasting room—Darolyn’s choice; as someone whose palette developed over bottles of “Two Buck Chuck,” my ability to select and assess wine is remedial at best—we were greeted by Eric Fry.  And then the real tasting began.

Fry, a large man with long, white hair and Nordic bone-structure (he would have made a great Viking), led us through a wooden door in the far corner of the tasting room.  We deftly descending a couple rickety steps and circumvented various objects until we were standing on a concrete floor in a room that smelled mildly of cold dirt.  We were surrounded by about a dozen stainless steel vats each about the size of a bedroom in Tribeca.  This was The Cellar.

Fry went over to one of the containers and opened a spigot, which released a small stream of clear liquid that flowed into the plastic beaker he held below it.  He divvied-up its contents amongst our glasses.  After encouraging us to take a sip and—just as brash as it sounds—spit the liquid straight onto the concrete floor, he asked: “What do you taste?”

This question is always paralyzing for one so clearly out of her league.  I scanned my brain for all the colorful adjectives seasoned tasters typically toss out at this point in the wine-tasting process.  But, which obscure flavor was this? Cherry? Oak? Toast? Tobacco?  I went with what I thought to be a conservative choice.

“Um… Raspberry?”

Fry didn’t readily respond.  “Ok.  There is no wrong answer, but that was wrong,” he said, politely releasing a short fit of laughter, easing any tension that might have formed in the wake of my obvious naiveté.  “But it’s really close,” he reassured me, saying that what I was really tasting was sour: more like green apples and lemons.  (Fry would later explain that it takes practice to put what you taste into words.  Apparently, there’s some sort of neurological connection lacking between the part of the brain that recognizes taste and the part that processes speech, so verbalizing wine for a novice like myself is exactly the way it feels: near impossible.) “What else?  Anything.”

I was spent after raspberry, but tried my hand at another flavor, attempting this time not to labor over my response.  “Vinegar?”

Fry made a comical sound of disgust, like he had just squashed a bug.  “How about sour cherry?” he offered instead.  “It’s screaming sour cherry.”

He was right.  And it began to make sense when he explained why.  This was the flat beginnings of the bubbly we had sampled just moments before in the tasting room, he said.

“I want it to be delicate, clean, really fresh and really simple, because with bubbly, the flavor comes from the time on the yeast, [which is what gives it] all those sort of toasty, caramel, honey characters,” he explained.  Fry uses a yeast called Prise de Mousse, which he adds to the bottled liquid, caps it off with a beer-bottle top and places it in the basement for at least five years before its finally disgorged.

“If you’ve got a really strong apple character, or a really strong fruit character, it becomes spumanti,” he added.  “I don’t want that.  I want a really delicate flavor now with lots of acidity.  It’s too sour to drink now, but you’re going to put it on the yeast and leave it in a bottle for five years, so you need to have that low PH for stability, for integrity, so that it doesn’t spoil. “

As we continued tasting, Fry further explained that the flavor from white wine grapes, like Chardonnay, will differ depending on when the grapes are picked.  (Premature and they’re sour apple; late in the season and they’re juicy, ripe pear.)  Wine campers learn how to distinguish these flavors with Fry, ultimately blending samples themselves to create their own liquid “fruit salad,” made to taste.

With more knowledge of how these flavors come about, I was ready for another blend.  Fry poured a bit of Pinot Gris.

“Tell me any impression you get,” Fry began.  “But, also tell me how this wine differs from the last wine.”

“Ok…  It has more of a bite.  It’s not as sour.”

“Not as sour!  Correct.  That means, less acid,” he said.  (I was proud.)  “Now name a fruit,” he continued.

I ventured a guess: “Kind of, maybe like apple, but not granny smith apple… ?”

“Perfect,” Fry responded.  “It’s smoother, it’s richer, it is not sweet, but it is not as acidic.”  (His explanation was a bit more articulate.)  “It’s creamier and richer because there’s more glycerol, there’s more diacetyl.  The first wine saw almost no barrels; this one saw barrels and malolactic in the second fermentation.”

Sure, I still wasn’t really sure what all that meant, but knew I knew a lot more than when I walked through the door.  In all, we tasted about 10 different varieties of wine, both whites and reds; and still, it was only a miniscule version of what actual wine campers can expect.

Darolyn said she and her husband usually entertain about 20 to 24 guests during a wine camp weekend, and they’ve seen couples from all walks of life: those who sign-up for the experience because they’re thinking of opening a vineyard themselves, and those who, Darolyn said, come in saying “I know what I like, but I don’t know why.”  When it comes down to it, she continued, “Wine Camp helps them understand why.”

Wine Camp dates for 2012 are already available for reservations.  For a full list of events and participating vineyards, visit the Wine Camp website www.harvestinnbandb.com/winecamp or call Harvest Inn at 765-9412.

Reunited With A Ring

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Rings2 adjusted

By Claire Walla

There are very few things that can upset a new bride.  But, hearing that her husband has just lost his wedding ring is one of them.

In 2007, three years after his wedding and still a relative newlywed, Nick Kardaras decided to go for a swim.  He and his new bride, Lucy, were living on the North Fork at the time, so he drove his car down to Nassau Point beach in Cutchogue and prepared, like usual, for a late-afternoon dip.  “I normally go swimming at dusk,” he said.

But, this aquatic excursion was different from the start.

“I hate to say this, but there was a sketchy-looking character parked by my car,” Nick explained.  At the time, Nick said he was driving a Jeep with doors that didn’t quite lock.  While he had been in the habit of taking his wedding band off before diving into the surf—advice his wife said she instated from the start—this time he thought differently of it.  “This guy was drinking a Colt 45,” he continued, which peaked his concern.  “I thought, I’m not going to go swimming and leave my ring behind with this guy!”

Nick decided to wear his ring all the way into the water.  At first, his plan seemed to work.  The ring stayed bound to his finger as he tread water and propelled through the current.

“But, as I was swimming back, it started to fall.  It was almost like slow-motion,” he described, saying that he watched his platinum, diamond-encrusted ring sink down to the sandy bay bottom.

As if jogging his brain for an appropriate euphemism, Nick momentarily paused when asked how his wife reacted to the news, but eventually admitted, “I was in the dog house for a certain period of time.”  (It was a phrase Lucy herself repeated.)

Not willing to give-in to the notion that he had just lost his wedding ring, Nick went back to the site every day for about a month.  Each time, he would descend the steps that led to the beach and count precisely 45 steps out and four steps to the side until he was nearly chest-deep in the water.  Armed merely with a pair of goggles and a pan, which he used to scoop-up the sand, he searched for the lost ring.  To no avail.

“I’ve had this empty void on my finger for the past few years,” he said in a recent interview.  He and his wife had talked about getting a replacement band, but this diamond-encrusted ring had sentimental value for them.  The two had spent a lot of time in Greece (Nick speaks the language fluently) and had purchased the ring there.  In fact, he said it was inspired by Greek design.  In the end, he Lucy essentially put-off finding an adequate replacement.  “In some weird way, I kind of held-out hope that I was going to get it again,” Nick said.

The landscape changed in 2009.  About a year and a half ago, Nick was contacted by someone who claimed to have recovered his lost ring.  No, not that ring.  His high school graduation ring.

“I had forgotten that I had even had a school ring!” Nick explained.  He assumes he lost the piece of jewelery during what he called a “night of recreation” at a bar in Binghampton, where he often went to visit friends.  As it turns out, the discovery happened shortly after a tragic shooting at an immigration center in the area, when a local man with a metal detector was looking for shell casings and just happened to come across the ring—buried in six inches of sand, where it had been for 21 years.  The man gave it to Nick’ high school alumni association, which sent it to the East Ender.

“I thought that I was on a good roll, finding rings,” the current Sag Harbor resident explained.  So, when he noticed a truck driving through the Sag Harbor area advertising metal-detecting services, he introduced himself to the metal detector himself, long-time Sag Harbor resident David Cosgrove, and thought he’d put Cosgrove’s expertise to the test.

Last Thursday, July 15 Cosgrove and his metal detector accompanied Nick, his wife, Lucy, and their twin sons, Ari and Alexi, to the site of his ill-fated swim four years before.  After descending the steps to Nassau Point beach, they counted 45 steps out and four steps to the side.  “I remembered the numbers,” Nick said.  “I had kept them in my head all those years.”

Cosgrove had previously implored the family not to get their hopes up.  Though he had discovered plenty of precious items before, he emphasized there’s never any telling what the sands will turn up.  Besides, most of the rings he’d found were dirtied or split in two.  In the first two scoops the scavengers recovered a rusty nail.  But the third time was, as they say, the charm.

“He found it in about 10 minutes!” Nick beamed.

“I was just overjoyed,” Lucy added, saying that the public beach was filled with people cheering as Nick slipped the platinum band back on his finger.  Coincidentally, she said she and Nick had been thinking about buying a replacement ring just this year.  She pondered buying one as a Christmas gift, or even a September birthday present for her husband.  So, in a way, this fated discovery happened “just in the nick of time.”

In addition to replacing the void that plagued his left hand, Nick was excited by the fact that the bay had kept the ring “in pristine condition.”   He wanted to thank Cosgrove for his efforts and asked him how much he should pay him for his services.  To his surprise, Cosgrove declined payment.  (He also politely said he would “pass on the offer” to be interviewed for this article.)

Instead, Nick recalled, “he said just pay it forward.”