6/29/2015 1:39 PM
Did you know local, Long Island sweet corn isn’t available until July? You may see it being sold everywhere as the summer kicks into gear, but locally grown Long Island corn will not be available at the super markets, farmstands or farmers markets until, the very earliest, July 4th weekend. Because the growing cycle for corn can be anywhere from 70-80 days (from seed to harvest), corn must be planted as early as possible, which means somewhere late March or early April. The weather that time of year can be a bit iffy (think random snow storm as an April Fools Day joke) only it’s no joke to the farmer, that’s for sure.
Farms like Meyers Plant and Produce in Woodbury planted early this year and placed plastic over the small corn plants to avoid potential frost damage. “The risk is still there, but we did well this year,” says Pete Meyer. They, and other early planters, are reporting their corn will be in for the Fourth of July holiday. Other farmers are reporting corn for about a week or so later.
Schmitt’s Farmstand on Sound in Riverhead is reporting that their homegrown lettuce has arrived. Debbie Schmitt said it was a little late this year but well worth the wait. “When fresh lettuce is harvested, it means summer has arrived on our farm,” Debbie claims! Schmitt’s is still selling their hanging plants and horseradish at the farmstand as well.
Meyers Farm also reports they are transplanting broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers (aka cukes!), pickles, cantaloupe, beets, carrots and radishes. Not everything happens in the field. Most farmers will grow small plants (aka transplants) from seed in the greenhouse, then plant in the field to finish off the process in the fertile soil and warm sun.
Did you know bugs are beneficial? Sang Lee just received an order of insects. “Ladybugs and lacewings are extremely beneficial to our farm. They help control aphids, fungus gnats and cucumber beetle population.” Sang Lee Farms shares. They claim the insect pressure has been strong this year but as the beneficial insects reproduce, they establish a community of "do-gooder" insects on the farm and it helps keep the insect pressure to a minimum.
Looking to try something different? Try the garlic scapes at Sang Lee. Garlic scapes are the soft, lime-green-colored stems and unopened flower buds of hard-neck garlic varieties. Scapes tastes like roasted garlic with a texture of asparagus.
A favorite time of year for a lot of people is late spring, early summer when fresh grown herbs are popping up at farmers markets or farmstands and in greenhouses. Who doesn’t like the fresh smell of basil or cilantro? The variety of herbs available in the summer can be overwhelming, but the possibilities are endless. MKZ Farms in Jamesport is reporting they are working on their fourth round of Genovese basil and basil Marseille. When we spoke with Emilie, she was happy to report she is hosting a cooking class soon in her greenhouse and the main concentration will be on cooking with fresh herbs.
Catapano Dairy Farm was on Doug Geed’s East End show this spring. Did you catch the episode? Michael, head cheesemaker at Catapano, developed a new slicing cheese (think jarlsberg) made from their sheep milk. After the proper aging, they are happy to report a recent test has proven the new cheese creation a tasty success.
To celebrate Long Island’s rich agricultural heritage, you can join us at the Suffolk County Farm on Friday, August 7, 2015 from 10am to 2pm to Celebrate Grown on Long Island Day. The event will host a large farmers market where you can purchase locally grown products for a fresh, local meal that night. You can wander the entire farm, visit farm animals and witness the Seafood Throwdown, where two chef’s battle for Seafood Throwdown Champion status right in the market. For more information about the event visit www.celebrategrownonli.com or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GrownOnLongIslandFarmersMarket .
Long Island Farmstands and Farmers Markets are listed on our website at www.lifb.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lifarmbureau and Twitter @LIFarmBureau.
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