Harvest Season on the North Fork
It’s official – another summer has come and gone. While it most certainly was different than years past, there were still plenty of days to enjoy on the beach and in local parks and preserves, boating was perhaps more popular than ever, and restaurants adapted to offer residents and visitors alike a taste of comfort in any way possible. It is one of our favorite seasons to enjoy on the East End, but what comes next may be one of the biggest drivers of the local economy. Harvest season on the North Fork highlights the agricultural history of the area, paying homage to our roots and carrying it through to the modern day. Tourism has taken a hit in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the population has increased as more people flock to the East End buying first and second homes.
As the days grow shorter and the air gets cooler, people will be spending more time at home again. If they do opt to venture outside of the home, they will be choosing activities that can still be enjoyed outdoors. Harvest lends itself well to that with apple and pumpkin picking, winery and brewery visits, and yes, even boating. In these strange times, we still have much to look forward to.
Tumbleweed Tuesday, the Tuesday following Labor Day where our summer towns seem to begin to quiet down, was almost passed over this year. Many former city dwellers have stayed out east and are still working from home, and the uncertainty surrounding school openings and virtual offerings in the various hamlets have shifted where and when people spend their time.
“It’s been so busy out here already, and not just for farms and the businesses that support the harvest season,” shares Corcoran licensed real estate broker Sheri Winter Parker (SWP). “After Labor Day there’s usually a bit of a lag, especially when school starts, but I am not seeing that this year. There is still a lot of interest in real estate and I think the thought process is that buyers want to secure a second home and in many instances make the North Fork their year-round retreat.”
Through the course of the spring market, agents were not allowed to show homes in person. SWP was doing leases and contracts without people physically being inside the home. When restrictions began lifting in June, things really picked up and haven’t stopped.
Douglas Elliman Real Estate licensed associate real estate broker Jill Dunbar also finds the North Fork real estate market to remain active. “The North Fork is still at full capacity,” she shares. “Every home is occupied – so vineyards, beaches, restaurants and nature trails feel like it is still summer. It is a joy to note that local businesses may have an extended season. There is a relaxed and relieved vibe.”
Working in the heart of the Village of Greenport, Dunbar has witnessed how businesses have adapted to the pandemic, finding ways to still serve their customers. Earlier in the season, parklets were created in some of the parking spaces on Front and Main Streets to allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining. In this small but packed village, it was critical to many of these establishments’ survival as they were already limited on space. There have been talks in the village of also extending the opening of the parklets through Thanksgiving.
For many, it is the area farms that will be an attraction. Apple and pumpkin picking are a safe, open air activity families can continue to enjoy. This sense of normalcy can also provide comfort in these strange times. Farms have been busier than ever with harvest, offering the freshest and most delicious produce around. “Like most of us, I look forward to cooking with fall veggies, and as the cool days arrive, taking long walks on the beach with our dog and casually biking through my Village neighborhoods,” says Dunbar.
Dunbar’s listing for 236 Manor Place in Greenport is a chic and sophisticated three-bedroom, two-bathroom home close to the heart of the village. Its location and enclosed backyard offer a sense of privacy while still being close to all of the highlights of the area. Co-listed with licensed real estate salesperson Nora Conant, this home is on the market for $1.095 million.
Fall vegetables are also a favorite of SWP. One of her favorite fall recipes is a delicious French country stew that highlights all the North Fork farms have to offer. From Sang Lee Farm in Peconic, the fingerling potatoes are to die for. “I love to roast these with just olive oil and sea salt,” SWP explains. “They’re insanely good. As more people are spending time at home, it’s important to support local as much as you can. Visit your farm stands and markets for local produce, meat, cheese, and everything else you could need.”
SWP has noticed all of the wineries, breweries, and farms have been busy this season, with all maintaining the required social distancing. There is a strong appreciation for having a place to go to like the North Fork. As many harvest activities are outdoors, there’s a greater sense of safety. One of SWP’s favorite fall activities is getting out on the boat. It’s usually a little quieter, still warm, and very peaceful. It’s the perfect respite after summer.
For the ideal North Fork retreat, SWP’s new listing at 44190 Route 25 in Peconic is it. The modern farmhouse lends itself well to the style of the area, capitalizing on creature comforts in a refined setting. The original 1900s farmhouse was beautifully renovated to include all modern amenities one could need. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home also has a large front porch, heated saltwater pool, vintage barn, and much more. This gorgeous home is listed for $1.195 million.
As we head into these cooler months, it’s important to remember all of the people and businesses that make the North Fork special. “It’s understandable people don’t want to eat out, so shopping local to make your own dishes or getting takeout from your favorite North Fork restaurants are a great way to keep this community going,” SWP explains. “It’s so important, perhaps now more than ever.”