With more than 40 vendors, the Westhampton Beach Farmers Market held on the Village Green in Westhampton Beach is the East End’s largest, most popular weekly farmers market and frequent winner of the annual Dan’s Best of the Best Farmers Market award. At this time of year, it’s still going strong. In fact the Westhampton Beach Farmers Market stays open as late as any of our other markets, through October 27, every Saturday 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
What can you expect to find in season at our local farmers markets these days? Quite a bit. Some local plants take a break during the heat of summer and come back now in the cooler weather, like Asian greens, broccoli, leeks, lettuces, radishes, scallions and spinach. Favorite fall foods include: acorn squash, apples, blackfish, Brussels sprouts, buttercup squash, butternut squash, cabbage cauliflower, celeriac, celery chicory, cider, codfish, cranberries, gooseberries, ground cherries, hazelnuts, horseradish, hubbard squash, Jerusalem artichokes, kabocha squash, kiwi berries, kuri squash, paw paws, pears, pumpkins, late raspberries, romanesco, Swiss chard, turkey, turmeric, turnips and venison.
And a number of summer plants are hanging on, like cherry tomatoes, eggplant, fennel, figs and peppers.
Of course every angler knows that the fall is the season of the biggest striped bass run on the East End.
We East Enders enjoy many local products year-round, such as arugula, beets, carrots, cheese, clams, cornmeal, dried beans, duck, eggs (though the egg supply drops considerably as the days grow shorter), fish, ginger, honey, kale, kelp, maple syrup, meats, microgreens, oysters, parsley, potatoes, sea scallops, sprouts, turnips and wheat berries.
Other area farmers markets that are still open include: Montauk Farmers Market on the Montauk Village Green, on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7; Southampton Farmers Market, 25 Jobs Lane, Sunday October 7, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; Flanders Farm Fresh Youth Farmers Market, 655 Flanders Road, Saturdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. through October 20; Greenport Farmers Market, 1405 Moores Lane, Saturdays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. through October 27; Sag Harbor Farmers Market on Bay Street, Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. through October 27; Springs Farmers Market at Ashawagh Hall, 780 Springs-Fireplace Road, Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. through October 27.
Don’t confuse our farmers markets with our East End farm stands. A farmers market is defined as multiple farmers selling directly to the consumer. They give you an opportunity to “put faces on your food” and to ask the experts your burning produce-related questions. Of course, Westhampton Beach Farmers Market vendors include bakers such as Blue Duck Bakery and Isabel’s Pastries, as well as other producers, in addition to farmers from Garden of Eve Farm and Sang Lee Farms. Farm stands are extensions of our local farming businesses, typically located on a farm property and selling mainly the produce and products of the given farm.
What should you take with you to a farmers market, besides curiosity and an appetite? Plenty of cash, especially small bills, as not all vendors can accept other forms of payment, and heavy-duty tote bags to carry your haul away. You may also bring along used plastic and paper bags to give to the farmers who are happy to re-use them. Many vendors are also pleased to have egg cartons, canning jars and cardboard pint and quart boxes returned to them for re-use.
Definitely bring some wipes along. Picnic supplies such as flatware, a cutting board and knife, plates and drinking glasses could also serve you well.
Consider leaving your recipes and pets at home. It’s far better to see what looks good at the market and cook from there than it is to go with a long list of ingredients that you may or may not find in one market. Remember, seasonal foods are often best when prepared simply. And though your dog may be perfect in every way, any canine can become over-stimulated in a bustling setting full of food.
In addition to the farmers market, when visiting Westhampton Beach, be sure to check out the 7th Annual Westhampton Beach OysterFest this Saturday, Oct 6, from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at Westhampton Beach Village Marina, One Library Avenue Extension, Westhampton Beach for great seafood, clam chowder and oyster shucking contests, live bands, craft brews and local wines, along with bounce houses, pirate shows, sword-fighting lessons, and Jester Jim for the kids. Find more information at whkiwanis.org. And then there’s the Westhampton Beach Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 13 from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Main Street will come alive with musical performances, art, food trucks, local wines, craft beer gardens, kids activities and more. And Westhampton Beach businesses offer Fall Sidewalk Sales on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. through October 14. Find all the details at westhamptonchamber.org.
Other can’t-miss big food fests on the East End in October include:
WÖLFFER ESTATE ANNUAL HARVEST PARTY
10/6, noon. Celebrate 30 years of elegant wines between the vines and on the expansive lawn of the Estate. Dance, eat and toast the fall! Grab your tickets fast, because this is likely to sell out. Wölffer Estate Vineyard, 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack. wolffer.com
37TH ANNUAL MONTAUK FALL FESTIVAL
10/6–10/7. Enjoy family fun, beer, wine, Oktoberfest foods, a farmers market, a clam chowder contest, carousel, raffle and more. Montauk Village Green. montaukchamber.com
RIVERHEAD COUNTRY FAIR
10/7. Explore the works of original artists, agricultural and homemaking displays, authors, entertainers, local merchants, food, amusement rides, pony rides and business expositions from across the country. Covering more than 100,000 square feet, there’s something for everyone. Riverhead Waterfront, behind the Long Island Aquarium. riverheadcountryfair.com
10/12–10/14. Enjoy concerts, art displays, food vendors, face painting, pumpkin decorating, a farmers market, a chowder contest and more. Agawam Park, Southampton. southamptonfest.live
THE TASTE @ PORT JEFFERSON
10/20, 6–10 p.m. The fall’s premiere food and wine festival features over 35 restaurants and purveyors, as well as local and international wines, beers and spirits. Sponsored by Dan’s Papers. Port Jefferson Village Center, 101A East Broadway, Port Jefferson. portjeffchamber.com
PORT JEFFERSON HARVEST FEST
10/28. Activities include musical performances, a costumed dog parade, marshmallow roast, scarecrow walk, pumpkin decorating and a chowder tasting competition. Port Jefferson Village. portjeff.com