10/28/14 5:00am
10/28/2014 5:00 AM

A family pumpkin carving workshop at East End Arts in Riverhead is scheduled for Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Pumpkins, carving tools, stencils and templates will be provided. Children must be accompanied by adult. Pre-registration required. The cost is $5 per family.

Pumpkins may be entered in the Carved Pumpkin contest immediately following the workshop. Entries must be submitted between 1 and 3:30 p.m. for public voting scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. One entry per family.

All pumpkins must be picked up between 5 and 5:45 p.m.

To register and for more information, call 631-369-2171.

09/30/14 9:00pm
09/30/2014 9:00 PM
Peter Lynch of Rockville Centre carries pumpkins to the cash register at Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm as his family watches. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Peter Lynch of Rockville Centre carries pumpkins to the cash register at Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm as his family watches. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

If you don’t want to be the only family on the block without your stoop or window sill decorated with the big orange gourd of fall, northforker.com has a list of places to pick your own pumpkins.

Here’s the guide to where to go to find ‘em.

11/17/12 9:48am
11/17/2012 9:48 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Ready? PULL! And another pumpkin takes flight at Southold Elementary School.

Here’s one one way to introduce students to science, particularly physics: Build a scaled-down wooden replica of a Medieval siege machine and use it to toss pumpkins a great distance.

Southold Elementary School’s three sixth grade classes recently completed field studies integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics in what the school terms “pumpkin physics.”

The students’ challenge was to apply Newton’s laws of motion with physics and applied mathematics. The tool the employed was a trebuchet, an ancient weapon that could hurl large projectiles with fearsome results.

It was also about finding ways to combat gravity and other factors inhibiting a pumpkin’s flight of up to 250 feet. Each of the three classes had 15 donated pumpkins to launch.

Video by Katharine Schroeder.

10/04/11 12:36pm
10/04/2011 12:36 PM

With the onslaught of pumpkin picking traffic in full swing on the North Fork, Southold’s Transportation Commission has recommended that the Harbes Family Farm on Sound Ave. in Mattituck pay for a traffic control officer during the fall season.

Not this year, but in the future.

The  commission made its recommendation to the town Planning Board, which is currently reviewing a site plan for the Harbes existing winery building. The Harbes family, which has farm operations on both sides of Sound Avenue,  plans to create a crosswalk.

Town Planner Brian Cummings told the board  Monday night that the commission has three suggestions for curbing traffic problems in front of the farm.

The group’s first preference is a traffic control officer, who would work for the town police department but be paid for by the Harbes farm.

Second is requiring that pumpkin pickers park in a field on the Harbes family’s property off  Aldrich Lane near the Harbes’ u-pick pumpkin field. But Planning Board members said that with crop rotation it’s  doubtful that the farmers would plant pumpkins on the same site  every year.

The third suggestion was to install a traffic signal at the crosswalk to be used only during the fall season. “They weren’t wild about that,” said Planning Director Heather Lanza.

Board member Don Wilcenski said that there have already been accidents in front of the farm this fall.

“People cross back and forth there a lot,” Ms. Lanza said. “There is a real traffic issue there. It is a fairly unique situation.”

Planning Board members suggested that the traffic control officer could work at the location on weekends and holidays between late September and the end of October.

The Harbes’ attorney, Charles Cuddy, agreed to discuss the suggestions with his clients, whom he said have already offered to help alleviate the traffic problems outside their business.

09/23/11 3:23pm
09/23/2011 3:23 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Pumpkins out in the rain on Youngs Avenue in Southold.

If you want true local pumpkins, it’s a wise bet to get them early this year.

When the entire Northeast corridor was battered by Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28, pumpkins and other crops were damaged by the high winds and rain. But since then, a fungal blight has been at work in the fields, compounding the losses, said  vegetable specialist Sandra Menasha of Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Baiting Hollow.

Ms. Menasha said that wholesale pumpkin prices have doubled regionally in the past week, and that local growers, who tend to turn to farms in Pennsylvania when there is a shortage of North Fork pumpkins, are having trouble finding pumpkins everywhere they look due to the widespread damage from the huge storm.

She said that many pumpkins here suffered from phytophthora blight, a fungal disease that destroy’s the fruit’s structural integrity.

Aquebogue pumpkin farmer Jim Stakey said he will need to supplement his crop with pumpkins from a grower in western New York. He said that this is the earliest in recent memory that he has had to supplement the 18 varieties of pumpkins that he grows here. Mr. Stakey said that he hopes to be able to hold his pumpkin prices steady at 59 cents per pound.

“I’m remaining optimistic that we can all hold our prices,” he said. “The hurricane could have been a lot worse. It never happened like it was played up to be.”

Mr. Stakey said that his corn maze on West Lane was flattened by the heavy winds, but that it has since recovered and will be open this fall. He added that some varieties of pumpkins, including the flat, cheese-wheel shaped Cinderella and the unique Turk’s Turban, have been hit hard, while a sugar pumpkin called Field Trip and a Jack ‘O Lantern pumpkin called Gladiator have fared well.

“If we didn’t have some bad, we wouldn’t appreciate the good,” he said.

Southold pumpkin farmer Al Krupski, however, says that his crop has fared even better than last year, despite the hurricane.

“Our pumpkins look really good this year. We’re really happy with our crop. We feel bad for people who’ve been having trouble. We’ve certainly been there,” he said. “We’ve been growing pumpkins since 1976 and we’ve seen it all.”

Mr. Krupski said that he grows 10 varieties of pumpkins and an equal number of winter squash.

“Some have more disease resistance. Some pollinate better in cooler or hotter weather,” he said. “We look at all the different variables mother nature is going to throw at you, and we hope for the best.”

Mr. Krupski said that he wasn’t aware of the wholesale spike in pumpkin prices this week, since he doesn’t buy or sell any of his pumpkins on the wholesale market.

“That’s a clear indication of the rain they’re having upstate and in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We try to grow our own. A lot of people just set up a stand for October. There’s no guarantee when you’re growing your own. Sometimes you have good and sometimes you have bad years. We’ve been on both sides of that.”

Mr. Krupski added that his haunted corn maze was in a spot sheltered from Irene’s winds, and none of the ghosts were scared out of the corn by the storm.

“They’re still in there,” he said.