A cozy time of year nestled between the excitement of summer and the chill of winter is the season that celebrates the bounty of the North Fork. Fall is a time to relax and explore one of the area’s most significant industries – agriculture. Local restaurants, businesses, and wholesalers rely on it, as well as the families that farmers feed, including their own that have been working the land for generations. Agriculture also supports the local economy and tourism industry, making harvest a truly special time of year. From niche produce growers to award-winning wines, the harvest season highlights what so many have worked hard to make a success.
MORE THAN WINE TASTING
Whether you schedule a visit to a few wineries or make plans to spend the day at just one, many along the wine trail are celebrating the fruits of their labor with various events through the end of the season. In Peconic, Pindar Vineyard’s annual Rock the Harvest will return on Saturday, October 13 featuring live music with The 3 B’s, food from Crazy Crepe and Weenie Panini, and of course a selection of their wines from the tasting room. For an educational experience, be part of Sannino Vineyard’s Vine to Wine Tours in Peconic on Sunday afternoons to learn about viticulture, winemaking techniques, and take a tour of the barrel room with owner and winemaker Anthony Sannino. Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue is teaming up with Custer Observatory for a stargazing night on Friday, October 19. Enjoy tap wine specials, fare from a local food truck, and explore the evening sky with telescopes at the vineyard. Many other wineries offer winemaking tours throughout the season for the chance to learn how your favorite varietals make it into the bottle.
Agriculture is one of the founding industries of the North Fork and is still one of the most important. Generational family farms have expanded to provide more than produce to families, resulting in a popular agritainment industry that draws folks from near and far. Many local farms offer U-Pick experiences, the most prominent in the fall being pumpkins and apples. Enjoy a barnyard adventure and picking excursion at Harbes Family Farm, followed by wine tasting for adults onsite. Taste hard cider after a stroll through the orchard at Woodside Orchard in Jamesport. Find pumpkins and gourds of all sizes at Krupski Farm and navigate through the corn maze. There are several types of crops to pick at Lewin Farm in Calverton through the month of October. In addition to pumpkins, gourds, and apples, pick you own eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes for the remainder of the season.
LONG ISLAND RESTAURANT WEEK
The North Fork has experienced an uptick in its restaurant scene over the last several years, growing to become a dining destination that attracts a mix of locals, tourists, and second homeowners. While farm-to-table has surpassed a trend to become a lifestyle, it is that ideology that has made many area restaurants even more of an attraction. Just in time to celebrate the local bounty is the coming of fall Long Island Restaurant Week. From Sunday, November 4 through Sunday, November 11, diners across the island can enjoy deals at various restaurants from casual to fine dining, to taste all types of cuisine. All participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $29.95. It is a chance to explore new places or rediscover old favorites. On the North Fork, try Italian dishes at aMano in Mattituck. Indulge in New American cuisine at Bistro 72 in Riverhead, Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow, and Sound Avenue Bistro in Riverhead. It’s a popular week, so be sure to make a reservation in advance.