Grist for the Mill

Gristmill - Creative Commons

Nearly 200 years ago, the French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillant-Savarin suggested that “we are what we eat.” We spotted this truism in our cover art by Sag Harbor artist Lindsay Morris: the person who nurtures and harvests the head of cabbage becomes the cabbage.

But we’d like to offer a variation: we are where we eat. Depending on the foods we choose to grow, buy, and eat, we all help to determine the fate of nearby farms, fishers, food businesses, and food traditions. This sense of place is central not only to the mission of Edible East End, but to the growing network of Edible magazines around the country of which we are a proud member. (See for more information.)

Consider the role that seafood lovers can play in the resurgence of the Peconic Bay scallop, once the pride of the region, and arguably our tastiest mollusk (p. 12). A group of ambitious shellfish gardeners is already reseeding the bays, but this rare shellfish will become more abundant partly because people demand local scallops, whether sautéed, stewed or fried, in restaurants and supermarkets and seafood shops.

In the case of wine, our tasting panel helped to chronicle the evolving Long Island wine region by sampling nearly three dozen Long Island merlots, the most commonly grown variety on the East End and the one wine that nearly all vineyards make. Picking up where the New York Times left off when it sampled Long Island reds, we hope to present a comprehensive view of the red variety that most wine-makers think the East End can do better than any other American wine region (p. 20).

Even as the days begin to wane and the farmstands begin to shutter, this issue of Edible invites you to extend the harvest by seeking out fall and winter crops and trying your hand at food preservation (p. 27). A Taste of the North Fork in Cutchogue has built a business helping farmstands and wineries expand their own product offerings and their seasons by turning local wine into vinaigrettes and local apples into chutneys (p. 25). And, in Sag Harbor, organic homesteaders Dale Haubrich and Bette Lacina give a sense of what it takes to be largely self-sufficient (p. 36).

Finally, thanks are in order. We have been flattered by the response from fishers, farmers, readers, advertisers, and other supporters. But, we struggled to keep the summer issue of Edible on the stands, despite a substantial increase in our print run. So, we invite you to consider subscribing. It’s $28 each year, and we think this is a great way to stay connected to the edible East End. It also means you’ll never miss an issue.