Best U-Pick Farms on Long Island

Spring is coming- which means warm weather, sun and picking your own fruit as a family. Long Island has the best farms on the east end to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of some of the best.

U-Pick Strawberries

  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Wickham Fruit Farm – 28700 Main Road, Cutchogue (phone: 734-6441)
  • Fox Hollow Farm – 2287 Sound Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-1786)
  • Anderson Farms – 1890 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead (phone: 727-1129 or 727-2559)
  • Hank Kraszewski – 324 Co Road 39, Southampton Bypass, Southampton (phone: 726-4667)
  • Patty’s Berries and Bunches – 410 Sound Avenue, Mattituck (phone: 655-7996)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)

U-Pick Vegetables

  • F & W Schmitt Farms – 26 Pinelawn Road, Melville (phone: 271-3276)
  • Krupski Farms – Route 25, Peconic (phone: 734-6847)
  • Doug Cooper Farms – Breakwater Road, Mattituck (phone: 298-5195)
  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Fritz Lewin Farms – Corner of Sound and Edwards Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-3346)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)
  • John Condzella – Route 25A, Wading River (phone: 929-5058)
  • Seven Ponds Orchard – 65 Seven Ponds Road, Water Mill (phone: 726-8015)

U-Pick Fruit

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) for the original information. Click here to read more.

Add Some Color To Your Garden!

For a long time, dietitians have advised to eat a colorful diet. Many yellow and orange plants are rich in Vitamin C and Betacarotene, Green plants are rich in Iron, Calcium and Folic Acid, and Red plants add Lycopene and other important nutrients to your body. Filling your plate with an array of colors creates a balanced diet. It is no surprise that recently people have been following the “color diet” fad. However, one color that is only starting to gain recognition is purple. Purple plants contain a pigment called anthocyanin (the same antioxidant found in red wine.) Antioxidants are good for the body, because they protect human cells from oxidation (which causes disease.) So you may now be asking ‘how do I include purple in my diet?’; Thankfully, a new fad in the gardening world is bringing purple into a new spotlight. Don’t worry- these plants aren’t genetically engineered to be this crazy color, they are actually heirlooms and hybrids. Here is a list of some purple plants that you can grow in your garden this upcoming season to create a well rounded (and colorful) diet! 


Depurple Hybrid Cauliflower – Recently, cauliflower has been everywhere. It is the superstar for gluten-free and low-carb dieters. It can be substituted for many foods that we love to eat. It is being turned into rice, mashed potatoes, pizza crust and even hot wings! Unlike it’s smelly white counter-part, Depurple cauliflower has a buttery-sweet flavor with lavender-blue florets. It can be started indoors and transferred out into full sun in the Spring.



Purple Dragon Carrot – Parents everywhere have been giving the party line of ‘If you eat your carrots, your eye-sight will get better’ to coax their children into eating vegetables. But why not just give them a funky colored one instead? Did you know that before the 17th century, all carrots were either purple, white or yellow? These purple carrots have the same taste as their orange counterparts. After the danger of frost has passed, you can directly sow the carrots seeds in deep well-cultivated soil. 


Molokai Purple Sweet Potato – This sweet potato is commonly found in Hawaii and is similar to the Filipino purple yam ‘Ube.’ Ube has recently been a trend because it has been used to create desserts from this starchy vegetable. Ice cream being one of the popular desserts. Molokai is much higher in antioxidants than normal orange sweet potatoes. The flesh is sweet and creamy, and has overtones of chestnuts. It can be grown in well-drained soil in a sunny spot.



Purple Beauty Pepper – The purple beauty pepper, are a mild flavored bell pepper. They are heat-tolerant and can be grown in full sun.



Red Fire Broccoli – Red fire broccoli is a mini-broccoli plant. It creates 6 to 8-inch bright purple florets. This is another great way to make eating vegetables fun for kids! They have the same taste as their green cousins. Plant in well-draining soil.


Scarlet Runner Bean – This purple bean plant is not only edible, but ornamental! It creates long fire-red edible flowers, and follows up with bright pink beans that mature into lavender.  Plant in part sun, let the vining commence. 


Indigo Rose Tomato – These tomatoes grow to be 2-inch rounds. The fruit exposed to the sun turn a blueish-plum color, while the shaded portions turn dark red. Sow the seeds indoors and set outside after the danger of frost has passed. Grow in an area with at least 6 to 8 hours of  direct sunlight daily.


Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here. 

Buy once, Grow forever!

Most people cut off the root portion of fruits and vegetables and throw them in the trash or compost. However, if you are resourceful enough you can regrow them over and overHowever, if you are resourceful enough you can regrow them over and over! Certain fruits and vegetables are prime for planting and re-growing. While some talk much longer then others (pineapple,) some will take minor days to regrow in a cup of water (green onion!) Here is a list of plants that can be cut and regrown forever!

  • Pineapple 
    • To regrow a pineapple, separate your fruit from the leaves just at the base of the leaves (this area is known as the crown.) Remove the bottom section of leaves, exposing the crown. Stick the leaves in a cup of water, you only want to submerge the crown. By three weeks, you should have long roots that extend to the bottom of your glass. Now is the time you can plant it in soil, and it will be harvest ready in about 18 months.
  • Celery
    • Cut three inches up from the bottom of the celery stalk. Place root side down in a cup of water, only submerging about half an inch. By three days, visual stalks have began to shoot up. At ten days remove the outer ribs to allow for more root growth. It is at this point that you can plant the celery outside, and it will be harvest ready in about 3-4 months.
  • Ginger
    • When originally buying ginger, search for a root that has a lot of “nubs.” Plant in a pot with the nubs facing upwards. Your ginger will be harvest ready in about 4-6 months.
  • Garlic
    • To regrow garlic, choose the largest cloves from the bulb. Peel back the paper from the sprout end. You can stick the cloves in soil at this point to initiate regrowth. Space the cloves 6-inches apart with the sprout end facing upwards. Within two weeks, garlic sprouts will have broke the soil. Your garlic will be harvest ready in about 9 months. 
  • Green Onion
    • Cut 4-inches up from the base of the plant. Place in a glass of water near a sunny window. By day seven you can either plant outside in the soil or keep growing in the water. By two weeks, you have green onions ready to harvest!
  • Round Onion
    • For round onions, cut about 1/4 of an inch up from the root. Place root side down in a pot of soil or cup of water. By day three, a tiny onion sprout will be growing. In about 4-5 months, your onion is ready for harvest! 
  • Other vegetables, herbs and fruits you can re-grow include:
    • Basil
    • Avocado
    • Carrots
    • Lettuce
    • Cilantro
    • Bok Choy
    • Lemongrass
    • Potatoes
    • Leeks
    • Rosemary
    • Bean Sprouts
    • Peppers
    • Fennel
    • Tomatos
    • Cherries
    • Apples
    • Peaches
    • And many, many more!

Thank you to Huffington Post and Veggietorials for the original information. You can read more from Huffington Post here and Veggietorials here.

Vegetable Garden Expanded

On Saturday 1/16/16, Bob and I took advantage of the warm weather and relocated the fence line. The picket fence surrounding the vegetable garden was shifted toward the parking lot, and had sections added to extend the garden perimeter. This adds between 800 and 900 square feet of space to our garden. We will relocate the flower photo board to outside the fence when the ground thaws again. The children’s garden will move from the corner near the greenhouse to the corner closest to the playground. Following the photos of the Fence project are some flowers in bloom in the greenhouse in mid-January.

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Extending the Vegetable Garden

Great News Project Bloomers!

The Islip Parks Commissioner has approved our plan for extending the fence at the Vegetable garden. This will allow us to add additional garden plots and to move the dedicated children’s section to the corner of the garden nearest to the playground.

Here’s the sketch and explanation of the plan we submitted to the Parks Department:


The pink is the existing chain link and the white is the existing picket fence. We want to move the 4 sections of picket fence from the green line, to the new line shown in red, adding in the 6 leftover sections of picket fence. This will allow us to extend the vegetable garden, adding 6 to 7 new garden plots, and to relocate the Kid’s Corner Garden to the front, closest to the playground. We think this is the best use of the remaining fence sections and also the unused section of lawn. The new fence would still allow for easy access to all landscaping equipment to maintain the area.  We would keep the lawn paths in the kids area, to keep it cleaner for play, and we would maintain those paths ourselves.

Since this weather has been so mild, we are hoping to work on moving the fence sections before it gets really cold out and the ground freezes. Right now the forecast is calling for temps in the 50s for the next few weeks. We would like to get started as soon as the town has had the “No-Cuts” guys come and mark out the area. If you are interested in helping out that day, I will send every one a quick email once it’s scheduled.

Thanks to Chris Cacoperdo of the Parks Department for taking the time to review the plan, and visit the site with us, and then visit again with the commissioner. Chris has been a great supporter of Project Bloom.

The Vegetables growing in Project Bloom’s Garden!

Here are some photos of the vegetables growing in Project Bloom’s garden! The plants include tomatoes, watermelon, peppers, Swiss chard, tomatillos, eggplant, squash, parsley, sage and thyme. They all are doing fabulously! The garden smells fabulous from all the herbs that are growing as well. The tomatoes and watermelon are growing so large as well! 

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Squash Lady Beetle

Attention! Our garden is under attack! While wandering through the garden one day, I noticed that the leaves and stems of our cucurbit plants were damaged. Upon closer inspection it looked as if they were being chewed on and were seriously damaging the growth of the plants. I noticed a small lady bug-like insect on one of the plants and also a small yellow spiny insect as well. I could not figure what they were because I have never seen them before.

After a little research, I found that they are a part of the Lady Beetle family, and are called Squash Lady Beetle’s (Epilachna borealis.) Unlike their siblings, the Squash Lady Beetle feeds on cucurbit crops instead of pests. They use their mouths to bore into stems to consume the liquids found inside. The larvae are a bright yellow color and have black spines on them. The larvae feed on the leaves of the plants. They show up in the mid-summer to reek havoc. In large enough numbers, this bug can seriously damage your summer crop. They are one of the largest Lady Beetles in Eastern North America where they originate. Keep a mindful eye on your summer cucurbits for these little insects. Below are pictures of the pests in our garden.

But how do I get rid of them? There are many options to remove the bugs from your garden. Some ways include rotating your crops each year, removing plant litter (because that is where they live in the winter,) scraping away the eggs from beneath the leaves, or making an organic insecticide. A recommendation from a professor at North Dakota State University is to use garlic, onions, one spicy pepper like jalapeno or habanero, water and a little dish soap in a sprayer and coat the leaves when you see the insects.

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What to plant in the Summer for the Fall!

While summer is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean your gardening has to. There are many plants that should be planted now to insure they grow for the winter and fall season. Also many of the plants thrive better when exposed to the cold fall weather and frost. Some that benefit from the frost include Brussel Sprouts, Chinese Cabbage, Kale and even Turnips. But what do I mean by frost you ask? Frost is generally a light coating of ice that occurs overnight and is split into three categories of intensity. Light freeze is anywhere between temperatures 28 and 31 degrees, Moderate freeze happens between 24 and 28 degrees, and Severe freeze which occurs below 24 degrees. All of the previous plants noted should be harvested before the first frost. On Long Island, our first frost typically happens around October 15th. Here is a list of plants that can be seeded now, for a harvest in the upcoming seasons.

  • Beets (sow one-half to 1-inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 12-18 inches apart)
  • Cabbage (sow one-half to 3/4-inch deep and 3-inches apart. Harvest when heads first feel solid)
  • Kale (sow one-quarter to one-half inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 24 inches apart. Harvest when leaves reach full size)
  • Lettuce (sow directly into the garden one-eighth inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Head lettuces should be harvested when head feels firm but before it bolts)
  • Radishes (sow directly into the garden one-half inch deep and 1-inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Harvest before the ground freezes)
  • Spinach (sow one-half to 1-inch deep and 3-inches apart. Harvest when full sized or a few leaves as necessary)
  • Swiss Chard (sow 1-inch deep and 4-inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart. Harvest by removing the outer leaves as needed)

Our New Beds

Here are some photos of the newly planted beds that are in our garden. Hopefully they stay like they are before the squirrels get to them! We have planted Lilac, Gerber Daisies, Lobelia, Hypoestis, Balloon Flower, Coleus, Dianthus, Dobule Petunias, Rosie O’Day Alyssum, Snapdragons, Pulmonaria, and Primrose. We have pulled out the large Threadleaf Cyprus in the front yard to make room as well. 

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