07/23/17 9:31am
Andrew Porzio started growing food in his backyard when he was a kid. He’s scaled up a bit.

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO Andrew Porzio started growing food in his backyard when he was a kid. He’s scaled up a bit.

When Andrew Porzio came to Sylvester Manor Educational Farm in the spring of 2016 as a farm apprentice, he’d already been growing food for a decade.

At 13, he walked into the backyard of his family’s home near Buffalo, picked a spot and started fencing it in with sticks. He was undeterred when his dad said his garden site was, “a little shady.” (more…)

05/18/17 6:00am

Sylvester Manor lamb

Space is still available for a summer of discovery for Young Farmers (ages 5 to 7) at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm.

The programs runs from July 3 to August 19 from 9 a.m. to noon and along with engaging in daily art, music, and yoga activities, children will plant and harvest vegetables, prepare and cook dishes using the produce they have grown, feed and care for livestock kept on the Manor property, and learn about the environment and history of Sylvester Manor.

The Little Sprouts program for ages 3 and 4 is full, but names are being taken for a wait list. Visit sylvestermanor.org to register. For more information, contact Caroline Scudder at cscudder@sylvestermanor.org.

04/25/17 9:16am

While many people might be wrestling with this weed in their garden right now, the dandelion was celebrated at KK’s The Farm this weekend.

A Dandelion Festival, now in its second year, was held at the Southold farm on Sunday, April 23. The festival featured lectures, dandelion food products, a wreath-making station and more.

The event was intended to “raise people’s awareness about the benefits of the dandelion as food medicine and herb,” said farm owner and event organizer Ira Haspel. He said he’d like to see people think twice before applying harmful pesticides to the ground to kill the flower. (more…)

10/03/16 3:40pm
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO Zibby Munson flipping over the oyster cages tethered to her dock on Menantic Creek.

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO
Zibby Munson flipping over the oyster cages tethered to her dock on Menantic Creek.

No one is indifferent to oysters.

For some, like author and master chef James Beard, the meat of the oyster is “one of the supreme delights that nature has bestowed.”

French author Michel de Montaigne compared them to violets and his countryman, poet Leon-Paul Fargue, rhapsodized that eating an oyster is “like kissing the sea on the lips.”

And then there are those who can’t prevent a shudder of revulsion when spying a pale mass of slimy stuff sitting in a shell. Slurp or chew that? Please.

Count Islanders Peter and Zibby Munson among the lovers. Last week, on the porch of their home above Menantic Creek, Mr. Munson noted that he had to go through a period of conversion to the oyster cult. (more…)

05/28/16 6:21am
A mason bee checks out a blossom. (Credit: Dave Hunter)

A mason bee checks out a blossom. (Credit: Dave Hunter)

The importance of bees in maintaining our food supply is well understood and these pollinators play a vital role in keeping our plant stocks healthy. But habitat loss, disease and pesticides are all taking a toll on bee populations, which is why some people are expressing interest in keeping honeybees themselves these days.  (more…)

04/22/16 6:10am
Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulture consultant Alice Raimondo examines some garden soil. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulture consultant Alice Raimondo examines some garden soil. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

For beginning gardeners — or even experienced ones — problems can always arise when working out a green thumb.

Some, like an insect infestation, can be pretty obvious. But others, like unbalanced soil, will likely not be so noticeable to the untrained eye.

To find out if the dirt in your garden is causing trouble, stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s office on Griffing Avenue in Riverhead with a cup and a half of soil and five dollars. There, horticulture consultants Alice Raimondo and Sandra Vultaggio will test your soil’s pH balance and soluble salts level. (more…)

04/21/16 3:39pm
meadows lawn alternatives

Suzanne Ruggles in a meadow she created in Southampton. (Credit: The Barefoot Gardener courtesy photo)

It takes a lot of fertilizer and pesticides to maintain a lush lawn.

And in addition to putting a dent in a homeowner’s wallet, the process of applying these products can be time-consuming. Worse, the harmful chemicals can even affect the health of local residents and wildlife if they happen to leach into nearby streams, ponds, lakes and bays.

As homeowners become more environmentally conscious, many are turning away from the concept of a traditionally green lawn. Instead, they’re planting alternative ground covers such as meadows and vegetable gardens. (more…)