02/11/15 10:00am
02/11/2015 10:00 AM

Landscapers and do-it-yourself homeowners interested in learning how to go green organically will have an opportunity to do just that during an upcoming informational seminar spearheaded by the Perfect Earth Project.

One of the newest environmental advocacy groups on the East End, it has teamed up with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and the Peconic Land Trust to offer an all-day seminar on Feb. 13.  (more…)

12/26/14 2:00pm
12/26/2014 2:00 PM
Despite its age — well over 100 years old — and precarious locations near the bay in New Suffolk, the Galley Ho building (center) managed to survive the 1938 hurricane, the 'Perfect Storm' and, most recently, superstorm Sandy, among other weather events. It will soon be renovated, raised and moved for a fifth time — about 30 feet closer to the water — as part of a waterfront development project. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

Despite its age — well over 100 years old — and precarious locations near the bay in New Suffolk, the Galley Ho building (center) managed to survive the 1938 hurricane, the ‘Perfect Storm’ and, most recently, superstorm Sandy, among other weather events. It will soon be renovated, raised and moved for a fifth time — about 30 feet closer to the water — as part of a waterfront development project. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

Its location has changed at least four times in less than a century, but one thing pretty much has stayed the same. Throughout its history, the building that’s become known locally as the Galley Ho has served the North Fork food industry in some capacity.

At least, when it wasn’t vacant, as it is today.

From the 1940s into the 21st century, it was a place where locals and visitors to New Suffolk could snack on seafood and have a drink. From the 19th century until before World War II, the simple rectangular structure was involved in the wholesale side of the food business — specifically, making oyster barrels. (more…)

05/31/14 12:00pm
05/31/2014 12:00 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Marratooka North Farm, an 18-acre farm off Main Road in Mattituck was the last North Fork farm to be protected through the program.

Marratooka North Farm, an 18-acre farm off Main Road in Mattituck, was the last North Fork farm to be protected through the program. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The state is bringing back to life a program aimed at protecting the state’s farmland, having secured $20.5 million in funding for the initiative, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month. (more…)

04/25/14 11:00am
04/25/2014 11:00 AM
(Credit: Barbarallen Koch)

This 19.2-acre parcel on the east side of Young’s Avenue allows programs at the Southold Agricultural Center to expand. The Peconic Land Trust acquired the land in a like-kind exchange from the Krupski family on March 28.(Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

When Holly and Chris Browder needed help with their irrigation system or getting their field seeded, Dan Heston was there. Mr. Heston, 45, would also roll up his sleeves and delve into the dirty job of turning compost for the Browders, who were just getting started in the poultry business.

In return, the Browders supplied him with free farm-fresh eggs — and, at times, new perspectives about farming.  (more…)

04/25/14 11:00am
Thomas and Brianne Hart purchased their Main Road farm in Southold in December. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Thomas and Brianne Hart purchased their Main Road farm in Southold in December. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Waking up to do farm chores like feeding pigs, gathering fresh eggs and laying out bedding for a chirping crew of baby chicks is exactly the type of life Southold couple Tom and Brianne Hart, both 29, had dreamed of.

They began raising livestock on rented property in Orient in 2012. And in December, with the support of their families, the Harts realized their dream when they purchased a 10-acre farm on Main Road in Southold, officially establishing Deep Roots Farm.  (more…)

04/08/14 10:00am
04/08/2014 10:00 AM
A view of the property from the beach. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

A view of the property from the beach. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Peconic Land Trust is in the process of starting a unique cleanup and preservation project in Greenport Village.

The job involves restoring a former fuel storage property to its natural state, protecting and building on habitats and providing the public with more access to the waterfront.

(more…)

11/04/13 12:29pm
11/04/2013 12:29 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Southold Elementary School students farming at

COURTESY PHOTO | Southold students farming at Charnews Farm in Southold last month.

Southold Elementary School students visited Peconic Land Trust’s Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm in Southold to learn about the day-to-day operations of a local farm and healthy eating habits.

The bi-annual program aims at teaching students about life on a farm, proper nutrition and the work that goes into growing fruits and vegetables on Long Island, according to a press release.

Students visited the farm Oct. 22 and dug for potatoes. They also enjoyed a healthy snack of kale chips as a reward for their hard work.

[Watch News 12 Long Island’s coverage of the event]

Peconic Land Trust’s program coincidences with similar efforts stemming the school district’s garden, an effort to encourage healthier lifestyles for children.

Southold biodynamic farmers K.K. and Ira Haspel helped the district construct a 12,000-square-foot garden, which now has more than 36 beds that produce 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.

[email protected]

12/18/12 3:00pm
12/18/2012 3:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A view of Exxon Mobil’s property in Greenport Village.

The Peconic Land Trust announced today it closed on a land preservation deal with Exxon Mobil, Inc. for a Greenport waterfront property earlier this month.

The parcel, located on the southeastern corner of Fourth and Clark streets, is a former bulk fuel storage terminal dating to the 1920s. The site on the western shore of Greenport Harbor closed in the mid-1980s and all structures were demolished in the 1990s.

The property has about 1.5 acres of lowland vegetation along the coast and about half an acre of undeveloped beachfront, which trust officials said provides habitat for sea grass and several species of birds and animals. The surplus land, valued at $1.4 million, will be left untouched for passive recreation under the new deal.

Peconic Land Trust president John Halsey said in a press release that he hopes more companies follow Exxon Mobil’s example of donating environmentally sensitive lands for preservation efforts.

“Exxon Mobil’s decision to conserve this property recognizes the strong desire by the local community to protect valuable natural resources, such as wetlands and shorelines, for the public benefit,” he said.

In June, the Village Board agreed to participate in Exxon Mobil’s conservation easement application, which prevents future development. The village’s role in the deal will be to make sure land restrictions are enforced.

The board had decided to partner with Southold in handling the conservation easement application because Greenport doesn’t have those types of laws on its books, officials said. The Southold Town Board unanimously approved the application in March.

Trust officials said the oil company completed an environmental remediation project at site in 2003, which included “excavation and removal of petroleum-impacted soils and subsequent backfilling with clean soil.”

The State Department of Environmental Conservation began an environmental investigation of the property in 1990 when the oil company removed an underground tank. The DEC’s environmental investigation ultimately determined that any traces of oil products remaining would break down naturally. Trust officials said Exxon Mobil received a “no further action” letter from the DEC in 2004 stating that the required remediation activities were completed “to applicable state standards.”

In April, Exxon Mobil secured permits from the DEC and the village to remove metal sheeting on the beach that became exposed during last winter’s storms. Officials said the work has since been completed.

The Peconic Land Trust is now tasked with developing a site restoration plan for the site.

Stephen Searl, the trust’s project manager, said restoring the property over the next five years will include removing invasive plant species and planting maritime grasses and native shrubs. Peconic Land Trust also plans to develop passive recreation uses on the property through a walking path giving public access to the water.

“The trust is committed to a public engagement process that will consider input from Greenport residents and others interested in the future of the property,” Mr. Searl said.

[email protected]

08/17/12 12:00pm
08/17/2012 12:00 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | The contested greenhouse planned for the Charnews Farm in Southold would occupy the open space between these two buildings.

Residents at Founders Village on Youngs Avenue in Southold are up in arms over the Peconic Land Trust’s plan to erect two 384-square-foot greenhouses at Charnews Farm next door to the senior independent living community.

The project is currently before the town Planning Board.

Carol Bertsch has been circulating a petition among the 92 senior community residents, many of whose backyards are not far from the farm’s property line.

Ms. Bertsch is urging the land trust to reposition the greenhouses, but land trust representatives say they are being placed within an area that was reserved for agricultural structures when the development rights were sold to the town four years ago.

The site, which is behind the farmhouse, is screened from Founders Village by an evergreen buffer. The land trust preserved the 21-acre property as a working farm in 2008.

Speaking during a Monday night public hearing, Ms. Bertsch said the patios of 10 residents would face the greenhouses. She said she’s worried that will cause property values to fall. When they purchased their units, she added, it was with the “reasonable expectation that Charnews Farm will not farm again.”

“We welcomed them next door in 2008. We continue to support their goals, but that land had not been farmed in a generation,” she said.

Don Wagner, president of the Founders Village homeowners association, told the board, “We never had this trouble when it was owned by the Charnews.”

The senior community was built 27 years ago, but “in the last four years all heck is breaking loose here,” Mr. Wagner added.

He said Founders Village complied when the land trust asked them not to use insecticides on their lawns and that many people there have donated to the land trust, but they’re very unhappy with living next to the farm.

Resident Polly Wells, 91, said she will see the greenhouses outside her living room window.

“I just wish that they could put it in a different place,” she said.

John Abel said he was concerned by the greenhouses, which he believes constitute development on a property whose development rights are sold. He said he’s afraid the site will begin to look like Catapano Farms on Route 25, which has a row of greenhouses much larger than the ones proposed by the land trust on its property.

Land trust project manager Stephen Searl told the board he believes it’s important to remember that the intent of the preservation was “to conserve a working farm and a working landscape.”

“Historically, this is where all the ag buildings had been,” he said. “Our mission is to ensure that farmers have access to productive working farmland. We thought long and hard about proposing other locations and, as much as we’d like to be able to squeeze [the greenhouses] between the barns and the fence, we need access all around the fence. It’s not realistic.”

The board closed the hearing but did not vote on the application.

Also on for public hearing Monday was a proposed 2,880-square-foot electrical contractor building on the north side of Route 25 between Lower Road and Ackerly Pond Lane. It’s a proposed Morton building with a burgundy roof.

Platinum East Electric plans to use the property for a warehouse and to store its four vans.

Neighbor Dan West said he’s concerned that the aesthetics of the entrance to Southold, just east of Triangle Park, not be diminished by the new building.

“We just fixed up Triangle Park. The next lot is this one … I’m concerned about the history of the town. No matter how you do it, it’s still going to be a lot of metal looking at us.”

Bill Kelly, who appeared at the hearing for the applicant, said the building will be as far back from Route 25 on the property as possible and will be landscaped with tall evergreens.

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