05/04/15 1:03pm
Joe Van de Wetering, the Garden Festival's founder, outside Peconic Bay Medical Center on Friday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Joe Van de Wetering, the Garden Festival’s founder, outside Peconic Bay Medical Center on Friday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

When Joe Van de Wetering told Central Suffolk’s board of trustees he could earn the hospital $100,000 through an on-campus plant sale, they didn’t believe him.

They rejected the idea, but a year later, after some deliberations, the board approved the project — with some restrictions, however.

His plan to feature a Battle of the Bands?

It would have been too loud, he recalled.

His pitch to sell shellfish and other farm goods?

The health department would never go for it, he was told.

Still, he organized the first Garden Festival  in 1995.

It raised just $7,000.

(more…)

04/25/15 10:00am
North Fork Smoked Fish Co. owner Phil Karlin outside the business's First Street headquarters. (Credit: Michael White)

North Fork Smoked Fish Co. owner Phil Karlin outside the business’s First Street headquarters. (Credit: Michael White)

North Fork Smoked Fish Co., which opened in Greenport Village last year without proper approvals and has since been embroiled in controversy, cleared one of two critical hurdles this week.

The village Zoning Board of Appeals gave it an area variance Wednesday night by a 5-0 vote.

But it also received a summons from the village “for operating without an approval,” said village administrator Paul Pallas. (more…)

04/24/15 8:00am
Under the current code, Southold Town farmers can mostly just sell their crops as-is to retail or wholesale customers. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Under the current code, Southold Town farmers can mostly just sell their crops as-is to retail or wholesale customers. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Doug Cooper has no interest in bottling salsa at Cooper Farms, his Mattituck business.

“At my age, I’m not going to get into something like that,” he said.

But the prospect of a Cooper’s North Fork Salsa, or Cooper’s New York City Salsa — pick a name — is one that’s being used by some in local agriculture as the perfect example of a product that could fetch more profits than shipping crates of tomatoes through middlemen in New York and elsewhere.  (more…)

04/18/15 8:00am

baby column

Kids, by nature, are scorekeepers. Meaning they’re constantly comparing what they have — or more specifically, what they don’t have — with other kids, and keeping track.

I know this because I was a kid and I knew plenty of other kids, too. We all kept score, whether it was a blockbuster movie another classmate got to see first, a neighbor’s vacation to Disney World or trip to Action Park, or everyone having Reebok Pumps except for you. (more…)

04/13/15 1:03pm
Scott Leventhal and Sarah Phillips at First and South restaurant in Greenport on Thursday. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Scott Leventhal and Sarah Phillips at First and South restaurant in Greenport on Thursday. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Veteran chef Scott Leventhal has taken over the kitchen at First & South in Greenport.

He replaces Taylor Knapp, who has left to focus on his snail farm Peconic Escargot and his popup restaurant PawPaw.

Mr. Leventhal has recently worked for the New Orleans-based catering company Southern Hospitality. He has also worked at Norwood Club and Tolani Eatery and Wine in New York City and has worked in Puerto Rico. He also has extensive experience on Fire Island.

He began in his role at First & South at 100 South Street last month.

Read more at northforker.com.

04/13/15 8:00am

As of now in Southold Town, those who raise shellfish on underwater properties could set up a stand to sell their clams or oysters — they would just have to do so out on the water, where they grow them.

And they better hope their customers have masks and flippers handy.

Town officials are looking to change that by changing town code, a move that would put these aquaculturists on the same footing as traditional farmers when it comes to being able to set up farm stands.

(more…)

03/12/15 12:00pm
The historically cold winter, and the freezing and refreezing that came with it, have broken and splintered dozen, if not hundreds, of docks that line creeks and other Southold Town waterways. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The historically cold winter, and the freezing and refreezing that came with it, have broken and splintered dozen, if not hundreds, of docks that line creeks and other Southold Town waterways. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

“It looks like a war zone.”

That’s how town Board of Trustees president John Bredemeyer described the damaged docks that now line Southold’s creeks and bays. The historically cold winter, and the freezing and re-freezing that has come with it, has broken and splintered dozens, if not hundreds, of the wooden structures.

From Mattituck to Orient, the freeze has popped pilings out of area waters like turkey timers.  (more…)

03/10/15 8:00am
Culinary instructor Eric Rickmers talk to the new students in the commercial kitchen Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Culinary instructor Eric Rickmers talks to the new students in the Riverhead school’s commercial kitchen Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Monday marked the first day in a new Riverhead school for a small group of teens living in a country still very new to them.

At the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Alternative High School English Language Learner Program, teenagers referred to as SIFE students — or students with interrupted formal education — will learn English and math and acquire job skills such as culinary arts and maintenance work, BOCES officials said. (more…)

03/07/15 8:00am
A sandbar juts into Peconic Bay at the end of Pine Neck Road in Southold. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A sandbar juts into Peconic Bay at the end of Pine Neck Road in Southold. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Compared to people living in western Long Island, those on the East End are in a better position to recognize the connection between the environment and the economy. The region also has a proven track record when it comes to protecting a way of life. Case in point: the Community Preservation Fund, which uses a tax on local real estate transactions to preserve farmland and open space.  (more…)