From Farmers Markets to Meatless Mondays

Now is the time of year that is most ripe with potential.
With the fear of frost behind us, we plant pretty much anything we desire—from melons to sweet corn to hot peppers. The Rev. Charles Cary and his wife, Millie, already devout locavores who keep yardbirds and a compost heap at the Westhampton Presbyterian Church, are putting in a veggie patch. At Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton, the manager has sown a micro-field of wheat where there was once a lavender “room,” and will model eco-healthy living all summer long.

Swollen with gastronomic delights, this issue unfolds with a challenge to squeeze it in while we can. To eat our way through Montauk’s smorgasbord of seasonal, seafood-forward seaside joints. And to find a favorite vendor (Open-Minded Organics mushrooms in Sag Harbor, Port Jefferson Brewing beer by the growler in Springs) at each of the East End’s dozen farmers markets, from Flanders to Shelter Island. Consider our handy farmers market map as both inspiration and guide.

Everywhere we turn, businesses sprout to entice the summer folks and gain a year-round foothold with locals. A couple in Cutchogue opens Long Island’s second mushroom growing operation. Slow Food chef Todd Jacobs inherits—and reinvents—the gorgeous garden and kitchen that used to be Southfork Kitchen.

Even when the weather is fair, realizing potential requires hard work. A field of pinot noir vines at McCall Vineyards becomes a winning vintage only through constant vigilance against all the troubles (birds, deer, mold) that will threaten its thin-skinned clusters by summer’s end. Fifty pounds of mackerel, caught by author and fisherman Paul Greenberg, becomes many meals only through “sushi-ing, brining, brathering, pickling and gravlaxing.” And it took the ad-man genius of Bridgehampton resident Sid Lerner to encourage Americans to skip meat one day a week—the Meatless Mondays campaign has gone viral and has been credited with helping reduce American meat eating by 5 percent in the last decade.

Sometimes, opportunity even brings self-doubt. A few years back, Scotto’s Pork Store, the old-school institution in Hampton Bays, wondered about building a portable pizza oven and launching the San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons; both proved huge successes. And when farmgirl Marilee Foster abandons her billowy A-line sundresses for “manly clothes with bulging, tool filled pockets,” she asks, “Does this wrench make my ass look big?” Who cares when that adjustable wrench makes you a superwoman and you can repair tractors, adjust irrigation pumps and bring in the crop all by yourself.

P.S.—Speaking of potential, we are proud to announce the launch of our sister publication, Edible Long Island, to celebrate the craft breweries, farm-to-school programs and innovative farmers, fishermen and artisanal entrepreneurs emerging from the kitchens and backyards of the suburban communities along the L.I.E. and L.I.R.R. (Who knew?) Look for the first issue in July, and get a preview at ediblelongisland.com.

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