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Farm Stand At County’s Farm

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.

News

Winthrop University Hospital employee Jeffrey Brenner, a hyperbaric technician with the Life Support Technologies group in Mineola, recently received the American Heart Association’s prestigious Louis J. Acampora Heart Saver Award at a dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The award is named for a Long Island teenager who succumbed to a sporting injury that is understood to have been preventable if a cardiac medical device had been immediately on-scene and applied. 

 

“I hope that I have made a real difference in my town and the world around me to help prevent death and improve the quality of people’s lives” said Brenner.

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com