If April is the cruelest month, September is the kindest. The sharp heat of the summer begins to soften, and a cool crispness takes its place. Football returns to our televisions and sweaters to our wardrobes. Because we’ve put our bathing suits away (for now), we can enjoy — without guilt — a slice or two of pie. On menus everywhere, we begin to see and savor pumpkin spice-flavored everything.
I’ve never understood why, every year, some people dread the coming of autumn. To me, there is no lovelier time, especially here on the East End, which is year-round an exceedingly lovely place. Still, there is something special about September. The fall foliage begins to bloom and all the tourists leave and did-I-mention-the-guilt-free-apple-pie?
September—and Briermere Farms—is for (pie) lovers. If you can drive past 4414 Sound Avenue without stopping, you either have a) more willpower than I do, or b) less enthusiasm for life. Either way, you’re missing out. The pies at Briermere Farms are legendary — and for good reason. They’re delicious. And, in the case of Briermere, their pies are not the limit. They’re famous for their cookies, too!
Everything’s better with Pumpkin Butter from Hallock’s Cider Mill. It’s hard to miss the summer sun when you’re finally able to enjoy New England and Long Island chowder — without sweating — from Hallock’s Cider Mill in Laurel. This roadside favorite is the perfect one-stop shop for freshly baked breads, homemade preserves and, yes, pies (noticing a trend?). In business for nearly 40 years, Hallock’s Cider Mill is a not-to-be-missed stop on any tour of the North Fork this season.
Not all those who wander are lost — unless they’re wandering through a corn maze. Even more so than summer, fall’s designed for festivals. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to Gabrielsen’s Country Farm in Jamesport. Their fall festival features unlimited hayrides, a corn maze, a corn crib for the kids (which is exactly what it sounds like), and so much more. There’s also on-site pumpkin picking and live music — fun for kids of all ages abounds!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, especially if you pick it yourself. The North Fork is home to a lot of U-Pick properties, but Lewin’s is the one my family calls home. Every year we find ourselves at their apple orchard on Fresh Pond Avenue, and every year we pick more apples than we know what to do with. (Spoiler Alert: More than a few usually end up in pies).