For most Long Islanders, milking a goat is probably not something they have ever experienced, but it’s just one of the activities that the Sixth Annual North Fork Foodie Tour is offering this year.
“This is a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at places that aren’t normally open to the public,” said Sylvia Pafenyk, who works on the Foodie Tour committee. This year’s tour, which is being held Sunday, September 9, will showcase 17 North Fork farms, wineries and food producers, many of whom will be having demonstrations and samplings. “It’s not so much an eating tour,” said Pafenyk, “It’s more of a learning and experiencing kind of tour.”
This is the sixth year that the North Fork Reform Synagogue will be putting on the Foodie Tour, and each year has been more successful. “We keep coming back, year after year, because the venues and the people ask us to,” said Kay Freeman, Foodie Tour co-chair. “And of course, as a fundraiser, it’s excellent for the Synagogue.”
The Tour is self-guided, and can be a bit overwhelming for first-timers. “Each of the places offers something interesting, but some places may be more interesting to one person than another,” Freeman said. She recommends guests arrive early and plan out which venues they’d most like to see using a tour map, which will be provided upon arrival. “Wherever you go, you’ll have a different experience. It’s really a matter of what you’re interested in and fitting in as many of these things as possible,” she said. “It’s a self-selected tour, so it’s not like you’re on a bus all day, and you’re stopping at something you have no interest in.”
New this year, guests can tour Patty’s Berries and Bunches, a 20-acre berry farm that features 24 varieties of berries, or visit the Ty Llwyd Farm (pronounced tee clewd, in Welsh), where they can pick their own vegetables and visit Long Island’s only solar thermal collector that is used to wash milk bottles for raw milk.
“People have differing interests,” Pafenyk said. “Some people are into wine, some people are into food, and some people come just to hear the chefs and see the cooking demonstrations.”
At Charnews Farm, renowned chef Keith Luce, of the Luce + Hawkins restaurant at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn, will be holding a cooking demonstration of his signature dishes, and cookbook author and culinary-columnist Chef John Ross will host a cooking discussion.
“We’re helping farmers and vineyards to show their products and tell people about what they do and why they do it,” Freeman said.
Among the featured venues this year will be a number of organic farms, as well as Lavender by the Bay, which specializes in beekeeping and is one of the largest lavender farms in the U.S. “They like to let people understand all of the effort that they put into doing this work and producing organic produce,” Pafenyk said. “It’s really a difficult and conscientious undertaking, so they’re very happy to join with us and greet the public.”
The Foodie Tour has grown more each year, both in terms of participating venues and the number of “Foodie Tourists.” “We have people who come from Connecticut and from Staten Island,” Freeman said. “They come from all over the place, because it’s such a unique event.”
This year, guests are encouraged to enter their favorite photos of the tour for a photo contest that will be judged by award-winning photographer and former East End Arts Council president, Harvey Hellering.
“It has become so much a fabric of our being, of the Synagogue’s being and of the North Fork’s being, because we’re doing such a wonderful thing for everybody,” Freeman said. “We’re showing all the different people who come the bounty of the North Fork and introducing them to this wonderful place.”
The Foodie Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. rain or shine, and begins at the Peconic Land Trust’s Agricultural Learning Center at Charnews Farm in Southold. Tickets are $25 for adults; children under 12 are free. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.northforkreformsynagogue.org.