The North Fork of Long Island is one of my favorite places. (Do I say that a lot? I might do, but there are a bunch of places that I really love and can visit over and over again. They include Galway, Sonoma, Provincetown, Puerto Rico, and most definitely the North Fork.)

The North Fork is not just beautiful, with farmland and vineyards rolling down to the sea, but it offers an abundance of local food from land and sea, great shopping, and warm and welcoming people. Last week, I once again had the opportunity to hop aboard a Cross Sound Ferry in New London for a press trip to this magical little spit of land. The trip reminded me that the North Fork is a pretty easy getaway from Boston, especially on a weekday. Whether you drive or take Amtrak, getting to the ferry is easy and takes about an hour and forty minutes. A car ferry option is available, but this time around we took the car-free fast ferry and were met by Jo-Ann Perry from Vintage Tours, which is a great option if you don’t feel like driving around while visiting wineries.  Jo-Ann was absolutely fabulous to spend the day with, and you can learn about personalized North Fork winery tours here.

The second you leave the ferry parking lot in Orient Point, you are blessed with the most beautiful scenery, including the sea and wide open spaces. Our first stop was Sep’s Farm for a tour and tasting.

strawberries

 

rhubarb

 

Sep's Farm, North Fork

Sep’s Farm and farm stands around Long Island are favorites of locals and visitors and a must-stop for all of your local fruit and vegetable needs while visiting. The farm goes back five generations and is family-owned and operated. The produce on the farm stand was absolutely gorgeous and made me want to fill baskets to bring home as sides for a buttery lobster dinner.

carrots

sunflowers

radshes

After some time for photo ops at the farm stand, Eric, the son of the farm’s owner, showed us around the farm, including taking time to stop in the tool shed to view some of the historic farm photos and tools. This place could seriously be a farming museum and provides a great peek into the Sep’s Farm of years past.

Sep's Farm history

farm tools

horseshoe

Sep's Farm tunnels  Sep’s Farm is as much a part of the past as it is moving into the future, applying for and receiving grants that make them able to do an even better job at growing delicious local food. They recently received a grant that allowed them to build eight foot tall fences to keep out white tailed deer, which are plentiful on the North Fork and who like to eat the produce as much as we do. They also have been granted funds for these high tunnels, which allow them to start the growing season earlier, and funding for underground water mains, which save water and fuel and are also better for irrigating the crops as water at the roots rather than the leaves helps plants to avoid disease.

farm spread Before we headed out to the fields, we were treated to a beautiful spread put out by Eric’s mother Katie, which featured some prepared foods made by friend Robert Seaman for the farm, using the produce they grow. We sampled some to-die-for treats like pickled asparagus and zucchini pickles, along with a yummy homemade mustard, tomatoes and mozzarella, and mulled beets, all in agreement that these items are sure to be popular at the farm stand.

pickled asparagus I could eat these zucchini pickles all day and was thrilled to find a jar in the very generous gift bag we received at the end of the day.

zucchini pickles

tractor

I love tractors. If it wasn’t a press trip, I would have made sure to get a photo on it.

cadillac weeds

After our picnic, we went out into the fields to see what was growing, soaking up the summer sun and getting a little dusty as we explored and checked on the progress of the vegetables. The above flowers are just weeds, but I thought they were so pretty. Bees loved them too!

Below is a type of broccoli next to some kale. All of the vegetables were way ahead of my garden, and it made me wish I had started everything indoors much earlier. Planning for next year already!

broccoli

Sep's Farm

Our group absolutely loved visiting Sep’s Farm, and I could have and would have been happy to stay all day to work on the farm. The city girl in me has definitely taken a back seat to the country girl, and I feel like as I get older I’ll be craving experiences like this farm visit even more often.

Thanks for having us, Sep’s Farm!

Other posts on my past visits to the North Fork of Long Island:

Kontokosta Winery

Cross Sound Ferry to the North Fork

Harbes Farm

Touring and tasting at Bedell Cellars

Greenport, New York

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Tags: farms, farmstand, Long Island, North Fork, summer, Travel, travel blog

One of my favorite things about Boston, and especially the hospitality industry here, is that it is so full of just really good people who care about the communities they live and work in. Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Summer Solstice party at Steel & Rye, one of my favorite restaurants ever. The party featured eight amazing chefs, all there to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an organization doing incredible work with kids and families in the community. 

Chefs included Jeremy Sewall, ICOB & Row 34; Daniel Bojorquez, La Brasa; David Punch, Sycamore & Little Big Diner; Joshua Smith, Moody’s Deli & Moody’s Backroom; Pierce Kelley, Bondir; and Chris Parsons, Brendan Joy and Adrian Vasquez, Steel & Rye.

raw bar 

As we arrived, I noticed the ice sculpture full of Island Creek Oysters and had to get a photo of the Boys & Girls Club engraving before it melted! The oysters were so cold and briny and delicious, summer in New England in a single bite.

island creek oysters

gin

   gin cocktail

Inside we were welcomed with a refreshing, summery gin cocktail and a busy, festive atmosphere full of delicious food!

gin cocktail

Steel & Rye’s new pizza oven was definitely getting put to use! They recently introduced pizza to their menu, giving us just another reason to go there.

 

steel and rye Throughout the night, we mingled with old friends and made our way around the space to sample what the chefs were serving up.

steak salad from sy We were all obsessed with this fattoush steak salad that Sycamore was serving.  I also really love Sycamore, so I was not at all surprised that their dish was one of my favorites.

steak salad

 

lobster 

Chef Jeremy Sewall from Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 offered up these lobster cups, which made me think of the lobster tacos at his former spot, Lineage. Those were amazing, and I am really going to miss that place.

tuna tartare Other bites of the evening included an incredible tuna tartare, a beautifully decorated and very generous short rib from La Brasa, a beautifully plated, cool cucumber dish from Bondir, pizza, and a massive charcuterie display from Moody’s.

short rib strawberries and cucumber pizza 

Most importantly, throughout the night we had the opportunity to buy raffle tickets and bid on silent auction items, with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. We heard from club staff and members and learned about some of the programs that they maintain the community. The Kids Cafe, for example, provides 300 hot, healthy meals per weeknight for kids and families during the school year and 700 per day during the summer. As we know, for many kids summer isn’t fun. It’s a time that meals had in school go away and with the Kids Cafe, the Boys & Girls Club are helping to create better food security for families in Dorchester. The club’s Safe Summer Streets program provides a place for teens to hang out until 11 pm during the summer, giving them not just a safe place, but a sense of community and care during a time of year when violence spikes in the area. In addition to their daily programs, the clubs also send many kids to camp each summer and they partner with many other organizations, including Team MR8, on sports leagues and other initiatives.

We learned at the event that Steel & Rye supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester year-round, including having kids come into the restaurant to cook. This just makes me want to eat there more! In a world that seems to be so full of violence and hopelessness these days, this event was such a wonderful reminder of all the good that’s out there and of all of the really talented and compassionate chefs we have in the Boston area. I hear it may be an annual event, and I definitely will be there next year!

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Tags: cocktails, events, Food, Milton, Steel & Rye, summer

For past Just Add Cooking posts, click here, here, and here!

As part of my affiliate partnership with Just Add Cooking, I receive a portion of the payment for any new orders made using the code TRAVEL. I will be donating any referral fees I receive to Boston’s Forgotten Felines who are doing awesome work taking care of the many, many abandoned cats on the streets of Boston.

It’s no secret that I love Just Add Cooking, and as my three month partnership comes to an end, I know that I will be ordering at least once a month. Having everything portioned out perfectly for recipes and knowing what I am going to make for three dinners each week is the best. And Just Add Cooking sources ingredients locally from right here in New England.

My Just Add Cooking June Meals:

Jambalaya

jambalaya

Our first meal of the week was a delicious Jambalaya. I loved that this recipe was super easy and the rice went right into the pan with everything else to cook, making clean up easy as well. I loved the addition of cloves to the dish and the sour cream topping; the contrast of the two was really interesting and ended up making the meal for me. This made leftovers for two lunches in addition to a filling dinner, which is always a bonus for me. I hate figuring out work day lunches!

 

Chicken and Cauliflower

chicken and cauliflower

I accidentally filled my social calendar last week and was out for dinner a lot, so this second meal ended up being a couple of days of lunch. Working from home allows me the flexibility to sometimes cook during the day, and I love it!

This Chicken and Cauliflower Two Ways was the perfect veggie and protein meal and incorporated cauliflower both seared and mashed. I love mashed cauliflower as a veggie side, and this one included just the perfect amount of cream.  Bacon and chives brought this dish together, offering a lot of flavor without a ton of fat or salt.

 

Grilled Vegetables and Feta Pita

grilling   

The third dish of the week was Grilled Vegetables and Feta Pita which we ended up not being able to make until Friday. Luckily, all of the ingredients held up well, and we may have cheated and added flank steak. Staying home and grilling on a Friday night is my all time favorite way to spend summer Fridays, and this meal was perfect. It was super easy, and the ingredients were so flavorful, especially that feta!

Overall, I would definitely order and make these meals again. Thank you to Just Add Cooking for providing this delicious cooking experience for me!

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Tags: cooking, Food, food blogger, Just Add Cooking, recipes

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