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…)

04/12/16 10:22am
Kurt Erickson, Sylvester Manor's Vegetable Field Manager, sowing winter rye and hairy vetch seed in the Windmill Field in September of 2015. (Credit: Maggie Higby)

Kurt Erickson, Sylvester Manor’s Vegetable Field Manager, sowing winter rye and hairy vetch seed in the Windmill Field in September of 2015. (Credit: Maggie Higby)

What is a seed library? The Shelter Island Seed Library will allow anyone with a Shelter Island Library card to check out a variety of flower, herb and vegetable seeds. At the end of the growing season, borrowers are encouraged to save seeds and donate them back to the library.

“An Introduction to Seeds and Seed Saving,” is the timely topic of the April 15 Friday Night Dialogues at the Library that will present this new project being launched in a partnership between the Shelter Island Public Library and Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. (more…)

03/07/16 8:39am
Abra Morawiec feeds her brood at Feisty Acres Farm in Jamesport. (Credit: Emily Greenberg)

Abra Morawiec feeds her brood at Feisty Acres Farm in Jamesport. (Credit: Emily Greenberg)

Abra Morawiec, owner Feisty Acres Farm in Jamesport, is a firm believer in giving back to the land that has so far made her first solo venture into farming a success.

And as a farmer Morawiec, who raises Japanese quail for meat and eggs on a small plot of leased land at Biophelia Organic Farm, realizes just how dependent she and her flock are on the ecosystem.

Now she hopes to start a long-term program to repopulate native quail on the North Fork, a species that has been on the decline in recent years.

“As a farmer, I understand the value of working the land and making a living off of the soil,” said Morawiec, who is the first certified organic quail farmer not only on Long Island, but on the whole East Coast. “In turn, it is just as valuable to protect and steward that soil and ecosystem.”  (more…)