“Delicious, golden-colored nectar” is how Richard Vandenburgh imagines the first glass of beer he will drink from the tanks of his Greenport-based brewery, scheduled to open to the public on June 1 on Carpenter Street next to the old village jail.
The project, called Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, a collaboration among Vandenburgh, his brother and his college buddy John Liegey, is expected to generate about 1,200 barrels one barrel contains two kegsin its first year, eventually producing between 4,000 to 5,000 barrels.
“Our objective,” says Vandenburgh, “is to produce some quality beer. Not to compete on a major scale, but to create something locally grown, and locally made.”
Given the dearth of malt and hops grown on Long Island, Vandenburgh intends to buy his materials from brewing supply companies, but has been in talks with farmers to see if raising hops on local farmland is feasible. The water will be Greenport’s own. Under the direction of brewmaster D.J. Swanson, the brewery, in a converted old firehouse, will make a pale ale, a porter and seasonal brews, with the possibility of adding root and ginger beers.
Not a brew pub, the company will operate like a winery, with a tasting room that sells kegs and sixtles (one-sixth of a barrel), as well as the two-liter glass jugs called “growlers” that beer lovers can refill at the tasting room to get the “freshest, most delicious” beer possible, says Vandenburgh. The new Ruby’s Cove B & B next door has generously offered its garden as a beer garden and the beginnings of a symbiosis has developed. The owners expect to distribute their wares to bars and restaurants by themselves. Village retailers and restaurants are already lining up to carry the indigenous brew, and aspiring home brewers may eventually be able to make their own batches at the brewery.
Expect the brewery to be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with the addition of a raw bar by next summer. Those frothing at the mouth for a taste can keep apprised of the project’s progress on its Web site greenportharbor.com.
The Montauk-based husband and wife team Andrew Harris and Sally Richardson may be winemakers who live on the East End, but the season for this bi-hemisphere couple actually begins in late April, a week or two ahead of when the vines on the East End go through bud break, the fuzzy green start to the growing season. That’s when
Harris and Richardson jet to New Zealand to handpick pinot noir and sauvignon blanc at Stonecrop, their 20-acre family winery on the North Island in the Martinborough region. Overseen by a viticulturalist and Harris’s parents, the vines enter their growing season in December and are ready for harvest by late April, and “are truly expressive of the dry creek bed where their vines were planted in 2003,” according to New Zealand-born Harris.
Then back to the East Endwhere there aren’t any dry creek beds in wine countryand where summer is just beginning. Vintners here are nervously watching their fruit mature, while Harris and Richardson are on to the next phase of growing wine: pounding the pavement and selling their goods in New York and Long Island. While the couple has the support of some of the best restaurants and shops in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, 90 percent of their output goes to the States. (New Zealand winemakers, in general, export most of their wine; the country’s relatively small number of drinkers can’t keep up with its growing number of vintners.) Stroll into any Montauk wine shop, from Finest Kind Wines and Liquors on West Lake Drive to White’s Liquor Store on Montauk Highway, and you’re bound to find Stonecrop. Nearby restaurants like Gosman’s, the Harvest on Fort Pond and West Lake Clam and Chowder House serve it. In Manhattan, Stonecrop is poured at the likes of Prune and Public restaurants, and is carried at hip new shops like Wine Therapy as well as at institutions like Sherry-Lehmann.
And Montauk is the home base they like best. After traveling the world, the sun and sand of The End “provided life’s simple pleasures; a home, the ocean, community and friends,” says Harris. Here, British-born Richardson does her work as a sculptor. The distance from their maturing grapes may insulate them from the day-to-day anxieties of viticulture, but the long-distance nature of their saga runs even deeper. Like many of those crazy enough to plant a vineyard and go into business, Harris was bitten by the Burgundy bug, where the pinot noir grape is king. “I don’t remember the wine,” he says. “And I didn’t know much about pinot at the time, but I knew that was the kind of wine I liked a lot.”
CSA Round Up
CSA, the awkward acronym that has entered the lexicon of more and more Americans, stands for “community supported agriculture” or the elegant symbiosis in which vegetable lovers pay their farmers in advance for a season of fresh and varied produce (and sometimes the pleasure of harvesting it themselves).
One of the largest CSAs on the twin forks is the Golden Earthworm organic farm in Jamesport, which offers the standard 26-week share, which begins June 1; a 12-week autumn vegetable share; and a fruit share, which, while not organic, provides sustainably grown fruit and berries from Briermere Farm in Riverhead. Full shares are $515-$530. (652 Peconic Bay Boulevard, South Jamesport; 631.722.3302; goldenearthworm.com)
Also in Jamesport is Biophilia, run by the husband-and-wife team of Phil and Mary Barbato. In its 10th year on Manor Lane north of Route 25, the farm specializes in garlic (40 varieties) and tomatoes (nine varieties), and accommodates 30 to 40 shares. Pickups at the farm, or the Westhampton Beach farmers market. $475 for a 20-week share, running June 4 to Oct. 17; $300 half shares. (631.722.2299)
The Garden of Eve Organic Farm’s CSA can include eggs from the farm’s pastured and organically fed chicken. The first pickup is Memorial Day weekend and the produce keeps coming until November. A “mega combo share” of vegetables, fruit, eggs and flowers costs $950 for the season. A vegetable share is $510 for 24 weeks ($265 half share); fruit ($140$260), eggs ($35$65) and flower ($85$155) shares also available. (Sound Avenue and Northville Turnpike, Riverhead; 631.722.8777; gardenofevefarm.com)
Sang Lee Farms will add goat cheese from nearby Catapano Dairy to its CSA, now entering its fourth season. The farm will also incorporate produce grown at the recently preserved Charnews Farm in Southold; participants can also pick up their shares there. Also available: fruit shares ($160 for 16 weeks) from Briermere, as well as Sang Lee’s regular 23-week vegetable share ($575 full, $345 partial). (25180 County Road 48, Peconic; 631.734.7001; sangleefarms.com)
Green Thumb, the state’s oldest organic farm, offers a weekly share whose cost varies from $14 to $17 per week depending on when in the growing season members sign on. (Route 27, Water Mill; 631.726.1900) The Farm in Southold again offers its Gourmet CSA of biodynamic produce. (Route 25, Southold; 631.765.2075)
The longest-standing CSA on the East End is offered by Quail Hill Community Farm, which operates on 30 acres of land preserved by the Peconic Land Trust and which celebrates its twodecade anniversary this year. Here members harvest their own vegetables, berries and herbs. Honey is also available. Cost: $390 for a 25-week share suitable for a single person ($775 for familysize share). Winter shares also available. (Deep Lane, Amagansett; 631.267.8492; peconiclandtrust.org)
Beekeeper Mary Woltz of Bees’ Needs offers a honey CSA, perhaps the only one in the country. Woltz will pick up empty jars for reuse. For $200, participants are promised 12 pounds of honey, or six pounds for $100. (631.702.5657)
The evolution of Greenport as a dining destination continues this summer with three–and possibly four–new restaurants in the works (and still not completed by early-April). Keep your fingers crossed.
Opening at 136 Front Street, in the former Aldo’s coffee shop location, down the street from the popular Frisky Oyster, will be Frisky Oyster Bar. Run by Frisky owners Dennis McDermott and Hank Tomashezski, the new 70-seat restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days and will not take reservations. The menu will serve local and West Coast oysters, clams, grilled fish tacos, a lobster roll, fish and chips and local catch of the day, as well as local wines. An end of April opening is expected.
Greenport culinary purist and pioneer Aldo Maiorana has moved his operation across the road to 105 Front Street, where he will continue to serve carefully roasted coffee, meticulous baked goods and perhaps other edibles.
Also in the works is Dragonfish, the latest “fish” to be added to Long Island chef/restaurateur Tom Schaudel’s résumé. Taking over the space recently vacated by D’Latte at 218 Main Street, the 45-seat restaurant will have a sushi bar and specialize in small plates with upscale sauces and presentation executed by chef David Huang. Sushi/Latin “confusion” cuisine will be paired with a “psycho sake” list and local wines, especially aromatic varieties like gewürztraminer and riesling, says Schaudel. Expect dinner seven days and lunch on the weekends at the restaurant, which is slated to open mid-May, as well as take out and delivery to the marina.
The long-empty building that once housed Ile de Beauté at 314 Main Street is slated to become the third outlet for Manhattan and Southampton restaurateur Nello Balan. Nello is on course to have 75 seats and serve Italian-influenced food with a wine list that includes local wine. Across the street will be a new 14-room hotel, Bego, with a small Japanese-style café. Balan’s Southampton restaurant was notorious for having the highest prices in the Hamptons. The Greenport eatery, he says, will be priced according to the market: “It will be acceptable.” He hopes to open by Memorial Day.
At 119 Main Street, Greenport native Marc Lamaina is turning the building that has been in his family since 1908 into Butta’ Cakes, named after the butter-laden cupcakes and other confections that will be the bakery’s speciality. Coffee and cappuccino will be available as will an evening menu featuring cheese and chocolate fondue. “A good use for extra bread,” says Lamaina. He has already contacted Latham’s Farm in Orient for all his produce needs. With 16 seats, Butta’ Cakes will open at 6:30 a.m. during the week and stay open until 9 p.m. with delivery from Orient to Southold.
Building on the revival of street food sweeping nearby Gotham– the annual Vendy Awards celebrate the city’s most popular mobile food vendors–two East End caterers are planning to bring the oven–or wok–to your door.
Greenporter Matt Michel has started Rolling in Dough Pizza Company by outfitting a 1943 International Harvester truck with a 1.5-ton wood-burning pizza oven. Intended to be brought to parties, Michel starts the fire hours before arriving, so that he’s got coals to create pies on-site using local tomatoes, goat cheese and produce as well as
traditional pizza ingredients. The truck also accommodates a cappuccino machine and a salad prep station. Parties start at $900 and children’s birthday parties offer the chance for attendees to get in the act and choose their own toppings. 631.603.7378, rollingindoughpizza.com
Deena Chafetz, executive chef of Sag Harbor sushi standby Sen and the newly reopened Phao Thai Kitchen, is riffing less on the vendor craze in New York, as on long-standing “on the go” traditions throughout Asia. With the help of Phao chef de cuisine Nicky Ratdachot (pictured above), the two sister restaurants have designed and built carts that allow her chefs to bring sushi, dumplings, noodle and rice dishes to the customer, where party guests can watch as the maki are rolled or the stir-fries are, well, stir-fried, before their eyes. These “action stations,” according to Chafetz, aren’t just an entertainment draw, they offer caterers and partygoers rare and economical ethnic food options, like pad Thai, a rice noodle dish that Thais have been enjoying as a snack or lunch for generations. Sen Catered Affairs, 631.725.4546, seninthehamptons.com
Brooklyn Uncorked 3
Lest we let the entire New York Metro region forget that a world-class wine country is barely two hours from its front door, Edible East End, along with its sister publications, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, will be holding its third annual sipping soiree: Brooklyn Uncorked on Wednesday, May 13, at the spectacular Brooklyn Academy of Music at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
The Long Island wine is the main draw, of course. But it doesn’t go unpaired. Among the tables of vintners bearing bottles made from grapes grown just a day’s drive away are selected comestibles from the very food-focused borough. While sipping a spicy chardonnay, you might wander toward barbecue bits being offered by neighborhood standby the Smoke Joint. See what locavore adherents Buttermilk Channel and Get Fresh bring to stand up to North Fork merlots. Toward the end of the night, consider nibbling on Williamsburg-made chocolates, while a sparkling rosé tickles your nose. There will be Long Island potato chips, nurtured in the same soil that now feeds thousands of acres of grapevines. Not to mention small-batch sorbets made from the fruit of those very same grapevines.
So, in many ways, Brooklyn Uncorked is about community. We hope you will join us to sample the bounty–undiscovered by some, but enjoyed by many–that lurks in our backyard.
Brooklyn Uncorked runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Tickets run $40 or half price for those who purchase a subscription to Edible (or purchase one for a friend). brownpapertickets.com or ediblebrooklyn.net