Monday, May 27, 2013

The Locavore Movement Grows on Long Island’s North Fork

My husband and I drive or ferry up to the North Fork from Southampton a few times a year, typically in May as the weather is warming up and before the ferry lines becoming frustratingly long. 

MAIN Restaurant at THE SQUARE in Greenport (Lexi Van de Walle)
Saturday afternoon, despite the chilling 47 degree temperatures and third day of torrential rain, we couldn’t resist taking the journey to celebrate the grand opening of two new food establishments, Provisions & Ingredients, a market and cafe in Peconic, and MAIN Restaurant, part of an ambitious culinary center founded by Keith Luce, a North Fork farming family native and award winning chef, called THE SQUARE in Greenport.
The Espresso Bar and Sandwich Counter at Provisions & Ingredients (Lexi Van de Walle)
Provisions & Ingredients stocks a selection of locally grown foods, beverages and packaged goods from New York State and the East End, including NY cheese, and meats and fish that are cured in-house.  I was (pleasantly) surprised to see that Provisions also stocks several shelves with canned and packaged specialty items that are imported from Italy, and Italian charcuterie and cheeses in the fridge. At the bar, they serve coffee, hot pressed sandwiches and sweets. 

The Winemaker Studio and Provisions & Ingredients Storefronts (Lexi Van de Walle)
Owned by Sarah Evans Nappa, who was behind the cheese counter, and her husband,  Anthony Nappa the winemaker, the couple also owns The Winemaker Studio, a cooperative tasting room of LI wines. The Winemaker Studio can be reached from inside Provisions or from the street. The seats in both shops were filled.

After measuring and bagging a pound of locally grown dried black beans from the bulk bins, I also bought a jar of Luke’s brand garlic scape pesto and a Blue Duck Bakery baguette before heading next door to the North Found & Co., a vintage home goods and clothing store reminiscent of an upscale general store of times past. I picked up a copper colander and a copper mixing bowl, and two ceramic berry crates to spruce up my kitchen. Hadley Wiggins, the shop owner, was delighted by the traffic that opening day at Provisions and The Winemaker Studio created.
North Found & Company Antique and General Store (Lexi Van de Walle)
In Greenport, just behind the Doofpot, the Italian pottery and ceramics store on Main Street, is THE SQUARE, a series of small building and patios with café tables and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, which Chef Luce and his partners have transformed into a casual neighbor hangout for locavores and foodies.

MAIN, where Henry and I had dinner, welcomed us with a blazing fire in the fireplace and a crowd at the bar. It's a full-service farm-to-table/ocean-to-table restaurant that offers local swordfish, lobster, clams and a variety of oysters as well Long Island raised duck and pork and fruits and vegetables from the Luce family farm. PREP, a take-out shop. NOSH, the café. And, MEET, a tasting room and retail store that showcases Long Island food and wine (scheduled to open this summer). 
Locally grown oysters are available on the half shell (Lexi Van de Walle)
Despite the awkwardness in service at times (which I expect with the first few weeks of any restaurant opening), Chef Keith Luce and his team have re-created some of the best dishes from Luce and Hawkins, in Jamesport, where he used to work. 

MAIN has Asian-inspired pulled pork and lettuce wraps in General Luce's secret sauce, which Henry declared “was worth the hour long trip from Southhampton”, spicy duck wings (which Luce served at the James Beard Foundation Chefs and Champagnes dinner in 2011 and I blogged about), the lobster roll, and oyster and corn chowder. 
Oyster and Corn Chowder with Homemade Oyster Crackers (Lexi Van de Walle)
I savored the delicious chowder to start. For dinner, Henry ordered Crescent Farms duck breast with a local beach plum glaze -- it was perfectly cooked as was as the large bowl of local steamer clams in wine with clarified butter. 
Long Island Soft Shell "Steamers" (Lexi Van de Walle)
 I finished my meal with a refreshing green salad before we rode the ferry home.

North Side Ferry Between Shelter Island and Greenport (Lexi Van de Walle)
I can’t wait come back to shop at MEET and PREP, and dine at MAIN -- perhaps on a weeknight in July or August when the weather's a lot warmer. 

For more on cool food places to visit on the North Fork, check out this post from a few years ago....   North Fork Long Island Food Tour

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