Retailing has long been time-sensitive. Cupid displays in February, red-white-and-blues for July, pumpkins for Halloween. Restaurants embracing an allegiance to their nearby farms alter their menus by the season, and the new Manhattan restaurant, Park Avenue Autumn, even adjusts its lighting, wall coverings, seating arrangements and waitstaff uniforms for seasonal correctness.
Enter Taste of the North Fork, the woman-owned and woman-staffed food-processing company that has been turning North Fork chardonnay into flavored vinegar, South Fork arugula into pesto, and generally preserving the life of local produce as pickles, jellies and other pantry-packing items that show up at East End farm stands.
Outgrowing its cooking space in Cutchogue, the company has just opened a tiny retail outpost at 2885 Peconic Lane, a corner of Peconic that has become a sort of foodie alley with the local wine-pushing Tasting Room and addiction-generating Peconic Baking Company nearby. And because Taste of the North Fork’s small-batch products run out with each season, the store is continually transformed with photographs of the shifting harvest.
Fortunately, through the winter, the store should have plenty of beets, beans, corn relish, plum tomatoes, a crisp, carrot-colored, pickled cauliflower, and a pumpkin chardonnay soup bottled in quart mason jars from pioneer of North Fork cuisine chef John Ross of the Olde Vine Golf Course in Riverhead. “There’s nothing better than a fresh tasting tomato sauce in February or March,” says co-owner Jeri Woodhouse. But it doesn’t last forever. “When we run out of corn relish,” says co-owner Jayne McCahill, “we won’t have that again until corn season.” Whether for gifts or for holiday provisioning, the store is open Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in December.
Editor’s note: Peconic Baking Company has closed.