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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

Way before Home Depot or Ace Hardware came into existence, there were little mom-and-pop shops like Munder’s True Value on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park. The hardware store, which opened its doors in 1948, is somewhat of a suburban dinosaur having outlasted several other hardware stores in the area.

 

“My father, Charles, opened this store in 1948 after returning home from World War II,” said Bill Munder, who took over the store operation seven years ago. “His parents wanted to know his plans after he returned home from the marines and he decided to open this store on Hillside Avenue.”

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from the Mineola School District showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, Mineola had some of the lowest numbers, with eight students opting out of the English Language Arts test. However, not a single Mineola student missed the math test. In East Williston, the opt out rates were 75 students in ELA and 60 in math.


Sports

The New York Cosmos hosted the Mineola Athletic Association’s Soccer Club recently for its penultimate fall 2014 home game. More than 140 members of the MAA soccer club and their families came out on a chilly October evening to show their love of the game. Twenty-two Mineola boys and girls had the honor of escorting the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury players onto the field in the traditional “Walk of Champions.”

 

The Mineola spirit must have inspired the home team, as spectators enjoyed the exciting 2-1 Cosmos victory, with the game-winning goal coming in stoppage time.


As a current member of the Mineola High School Varsity Soccer team, senior, Catherine Cunningham has been dominating the scoring for the Mustangs.  She has 12 goals and two assists in the last seven games. 

 

In her last week of play alone, she amassed six goals in just three games. As a captain for the last two years, Cunningham has been an All-Conference and All-Class player, leading her team to two victories so far this season. 


Calendar

Exercise Class - October 22

International Night - October 23

Village Halloween Party - October 24


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