Written by Lyn Dobrin, email@example.com Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.
East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.
This is the first year for the farm stand. Co-manager Melissa Klein told me that the produce comes from many sources. Some vegetables and fruit, such as Swiss chard, green beans, hot and sweet peppers, raspberries and onions are grown right on the property. Much comes from the 4-H camp in Riverhead and a farm in Brentwood. A gardener in Westbury supplies some of the produce and some of the gardeners who have plots at East Meadow Farm also contribute to the market. Most of what is sold is organic and local, although some products travel a bit of a distance such as the maple syrup from upstate New York, which is expected to arrive soon.
I chatted with Jennifer Trzcinski from Massapequa Park who had come to the farm to have the pH of her cousin’s soil tested by Cornell Cooperative Extension to determine what amendments might be needed to get the soil to optimum health. At home Trzcinski has an organic garden where she grows peppers, green beans and heirloom tomatoes. She was enticed by a head of lettuce at the farm stand, which she purchased. Peg Woerner said that the week before she had purchased orange beets. “I had never heard of them,” she said, “and wanted to try something new.” I went home with corn, tomatoes, a cheerful bouquet of sunflowers, and some homemade cookies baked in the kitchens of FREE (Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Food Inc.), a program founded in 1977 that supports individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and brain injury. The farm stand is a partnership between CCE Nassau County and FREE.
While you’re on the property take a walk around to see some of the special gardens. The Mid-Island Dahlia Society has a plot where members are growing flowers to compete in shows. There’s a new native plant garden planted in conjunction with Friends of the Hempstead Plains where you can see some of the vegetation that is indigenous to the area. There’s a butterfly garden of buddleia (butterfly bush) and native flowers that is a way station for monarch butterflies on their migration back to Mexico. The herb garden is comprised of culinary herbs and those that are used in dyes and for fragrance. A joint research project with Texas A&M is underway in one plot to test new varieties of roses. In this “survival of the fittest” garden, 36 rose bushes are not pruned or given any special treatment. Those that perform well will eventually find their way to local nurseries and into our gardens.
The farmers market is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am to noon. For information, visit http://ccenassau.org or call 516-565-5265.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
As the night sky fell on Memorial Park last Thursday, Mineola residents and officials paused to remember the almost 3,000 lives that were lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Mayor Scott Strauss, a former NYPD EMS worker and 9/11 first responder, was one of the many who rushed into Manhattan after the attacks, searching the rubble for survivors. He was part of the rescue effort that saved the lives of Port Authority Police officers Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00
Swaths of nearby and local residents flocked to the sixth annual Mineola Street Fair on Sunday, Sept. 14. With vendors lined up and down the streets featuring local businesses and restaurants, live performances and various entertainment for kids, the Mineola Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event didn’t disappoint Mary Cheung of Great Neck.
“These fairs are always fun,” she said. “It’s not too hot, not too cold. The music is the best part.”
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.
“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.