05/27/15 2:00pm
05/27/2015 2:00 PM
Greenport Farmers Market organizer Lara McNeil serves soup at the farmers market's old location in 2012.

Greenport Farmers Market organizer Lara McNeil serves soup at the farmers market’s old location in 2012.

The Greenport Farmers Market may be returning to a spot near its former location.

During last Thursday’s meeting, Village Board members and Lara McNeil of the farmers market, which is being kicked out of its space in the Greenport United Methodist Church parking lot, discussed a possible relocation. (more…)

09/19/13 12:00pm
09/19/2013 12:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The crew from the Blue Canoe giving out samples of their chowder during last year’s festival.

Despite a valiant effort by the Greenport Farmers’ Market, the chowder contest won’t be making a return to this year’s Maritime Festival in Greenport.

With the blessing of festival organizers, manager KiKi Hurst rushed to confirm enough contestants after a grassroots effort to bring back the contest. But putting the pieces back together in just over a week before the festival proved unfeasible.

“Everyone was so interested it just came down to logistics,” Ms. Hurst said. “When the contest was called off restaurants picked up other things instead. They just didn’t have enough man power.”

Ms. Hurst said she and fellow residents were inspired to bring back the long-running competition after the East End Seaport Museum decided to replace it with an oyster shucking event for the first time this year.

Last month, Seaport Museum chairman Ron Breuer said the move was not only an effort to better reflect Greenport’s legacy as an oystering community, but also because of the burdensome preparations of organizing the contest. Participating restaurants were responsible for preparing up to 25 gallons of chowder each, not to mention delivering and properly heating it during the contest, Mr. Breuer said.

Establishing a space and covering the expense of renting tents to house the competition was also problematic.

Ms. Hurst said the Farmers’ Market already has lot of the necessary elements needed to host the contest, such as tables and tents. Time, however, was not on their side.

“The Farmer’s Market made a very strong effort,” Mr. Breuer said. “It looks like it will be an event next year.”

Both Ms. Hurst and Mr. Breuer said they fully intend to bring back the chowder competition for future festivals.

“It’s a good fundraiser for everyone and it’s a lot of fun,” Ms. Hurst said. “We’re excited for it to return next year.”

The 24th annual Maritime Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday with the opening reception Friday night.

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09/12/13 4:00pm
09/12/2013 4:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The crew from the Blue Canoe giving out samples of their chowder during last year’s festival.

A grassroots movement to return the beloved chowder contest to this year’s Maritime Festival is underway in Greenport.

With the blessing of festival organizers and a little more than a week left until the big day, the Greenport Farmers’ Market is rushing to confirm enough contestants to revive the competition.

“The chowder contest is inline with our mission at the market as a community food vendor,” said manager KiKi Hurst. “It’s iconic.”

Ms. Hurst said she and fellow residents were inspired to bring back the long-running competition after the East End Seaport Museum decided to replace it with an oyster shucking event for the first time this year.

Last month, Seaport Museum chairman Ron Breuer said the move was not only an effort to better reflect Greenport’s legacy as an oystering community, but also because of the burdensome logistics of organizing the contest.

Participating restaurants were responsible for preparing up to 25 gallons of chowder each, not to mention delivering and properly heating it during the contest.

Establishing a space and covering the expense of renting tents to house the competition was also problematic.

Ms. Hurst said the farmers’ market already has in place a lot of the necessary elements needed to host the contest.

Mr. Breuer said the festival committee supports the endeavor.

“If they can get the resources, they are definitely a part of the festival,” he said.

Ms. Hurst said all the pieces of the puzzle are in place to make the chowder contest happen, but they still need to confirm the contestants.

“We don’t have enough chefs,” she said. “It’s not an event until we have participants.”

Ms. Hurst is in the process of reaching out to local restaurants, but said there would need to be at least eight confirmed contestants to make the contest viable.

The short notice isn’t deterring First & South in Greenport, who participated last year. Owner Sarah Phillips said she is in the process of finalizing the paperwork and fully intends to compete.

“It was definitely short notice, but we want to be a part of the tradition,” she said. “We couldn’t understand why they stopped it in the first place.”

Following a previous article published by the Suffolk Times, a number of readers agreed that ending the chowder contest was a bad idea.

“What’s wrong with clam chowder?” one commenter said. “It’s part of our life and maritime tradition. Why can’t we have both the chowder contest [and oysters]?”

If Ms. Hurst is successful, it appears that just might be the case.

Unlike previous years, the winner would not be crowned by a panel of judges, but rather a voting public. If the contest does happen, tasters would be charged $5 to enter, Ms. Hurst said.

The 24th annual Maritime Festival is scheduled for Sept. 21 and 22, with the opening reception the evening of Sept. 20.

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05/22/13 10:42am

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | State Board of Regents member Roger Tilles (third from left) tours the Southold school garden with Superintendent David Gamberg and students Emiliann Palermo (left) and Bryanna Bay during last Thursday’s School Garden Expo.

Ask Southold Elementary School student Emiliann Palermo what she wants to be when she grows up, and she’ll say a lawyer.

The 11-year-old is getting a taste of the professional world, without litigation and the like for now, not in a traditional classroom setting but alongside the plants sprouting in her school’s garden.

Emiliann helps grow and harvest the school’s organically grown and hand-picked veggies, and she volunteers to sell them at the Greenport Farmers’ Market. She also makes graphs displaying how many vegetables were sold, detailing their varieties and pricing.

“It has taught me how to be organized,” Emiliann said about her involvement with the garden. “I think it’s fun having your own place to get your own food. It’s all fresh.”

Her friend, Gabriella Drumm, 11, also enjoys participating in the garden and the farmers market.

“My favorite part about the garden is planting seeds and seeing how they grow,” Gabriella said. “My father was a potato farmer and my mother farmed upstate. It’s in my genes.”

The girls’ experiences are common among students whose school has planted a garden, the trend toward which has grown in recent years through first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote programs encouraging healthier lifestyles for children.

Southold School District’s 100-foot by 120-foot organic garden — enclosed with an untreated, cedar fence adorned with student artwork — was the site and main attraction of the area’s first School Garden Expo last Thursday.

Organizations such as Slow Food East End, Edible School Gardens, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Josh Levine Foundation had tables with information supporting school garden efforts. Some Southold students displayed irrigation and composting projects that they developed and that are now implemented at the school. Other students provided entertainment, such as musical performances and poetry readings. Greenport and Oysterponds school officials also took part in the event.

About two years ago, Southold biodynamic farmers K.K. and Ira Haspel helped the district construct the 12,000-square foot garden. It now has more than 36 beds containing a mixture of greens, such as lettuce, arugula, cabbage and romaine. Other vegetables include broccoli, radishes, shallots and red potatoes. Additional areas around the garden’s perimeter will grow pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.

After the vegetables are harvested, students and staff enjoy freshly prepared salads in the cafeteria.

Southold Elementary School principal Ellen O’Neill said the expo showcased how gardens can provide students with real life learning opportunities in the midst of a “high stakes” educational environment, with rigorous student assessments tied to a new teacher/principal evaluation system.

Ms. O’Neill said she believes the garden teaches students social skills and provides learning opportunities in science, math, history and art.

“We didn’t stop great teaching just to do workbooks and worksheets to get ready for the tests,” she said. “If you provide students with great opportunities, they’re going to do just fine on the assessments and, more importantly, they’re going to be able to take this into their real life.”

New York State Board of Regents member Roger Tilles also attended the expo and described Southold’s school garden as the most elaborate he’s visited.

Mr. Tilles, of Great Neck, is the only Board of Regents member with children currently attending public schools. He said he doesn’t believe the high stakes testing model and its cookie-cutter approach is necessary for most Long Island schools because their students score higher on exams than those in other districts across the state.

He said with so many schools now “teaching to the test,” he’s found it refreshing to see school districts embracing new methods where students learn through experience.

“When I see projects like these, schools are going to do better on the testing,” Mr. Tilles said. “This is part of a comprehensive program that has all of their students deal with math, science, arts, and business. It’s a great way to learn.”

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03/04/12 3:09pm
03/04/2012 3:09 PM

The Greenport Farmers Market has rebuffed an offer for a new site on village-owned land and worked out a deal with the Greenport United Methodist Church at 624 Main St. to operate there this spring and summer.

The market used village-owned space in the Adams Street parking lot off First Street last season after Village Board members refused to allow the group to operate in Mitchell Park. This year, the Village Board offered space at the western end of the municipal lot on South Street and hiked the fee from $1,000 for the season to $2,500.

“We have a very limited budget,” farmers market organizer Lara McNeil said. “We are very disappointed the Village Board didn’t have open discussions with us.”

The cost of her space at the church, she said, is “nothing like that.”

“Our arrangement is more about a collaborative effort than with the monetary cost,” she said.

The hours of operation, which were 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, will change this spring and summer to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And the season, which last spring started on Memorial Day weekend, could start earlier this year and possibly continue beyond August, Ms. McNeil said.

The announcement of the new site was made via an emailed newsletter on Sunday afternoon.

“We look forward to working with the church and are excited to continue helping small North Fork farmers and producers, as well as the members of our community,” the newsletter read. “Our great gratitude goes out to the pastor and the board of this wonderful church and also to all of you for continuing to support our efforts. Your emails and phone calls have meant the world to us in the last few weeks and helped us know that all our efforts are worthwhile.”