Farms worth visiting on Sound Avenue, Riverhead
Once a farming community, you can still find many family farms throughout Long Island. To remain viable in today’s economy many of them have added on activities such as pick-your-own fruits or vegetables, gourmet fresh markets, garden centers, petting zoos and other activities for kids. Briermere Farm is one I visit for its famous pies and Harbes farm is one that’s great for a family visit.
Briermere is a family farm on Sound Avenue. Connoisseurs of fruit pies have no hesitation in calling their pies the best ever. I often visit this haven for pies on Sound Avenue. It is worth driving from Baiting Hollow to the farm to bring home a delicious pie for dessert.
The apple pies are a favorite, but the raspberry or cherry cream pies are wonderful too. I have tasted most of their pies and love them all. Other pies people enjoy are the strawberry rhubarb, blackberry apple or raspberry peach.
At the farm, the front parlor of the old farmhouse was turned into a shop and is usually full of customers selecting from shelves lined with muffins, breads, tarts, cookies, pies, jams and jellies. Fresh fruit is the main ingredient of the pies, and the fruit is grown on the farm.
The farm had humble beginnings and was a neglected fruit farm when Leonard and Gertrude McCombe bought it in 1961. Today it is a successful fruit farm today with a bakery and farm stand. Their three sons, Yale and Harvard graduates, all returned to the farm. Clark, the oldest is the farming expert, Michael is responsible for the pies and Philip, who also attended a cooking school in Paris, takes care of the cakes, cookies, and breads. Briermere Farm will be re-opening on March 2nd, 2018, weather permitting.
Harbes Family Farm
The Harbes family has been farming on Long Island for more than 13 generations. They now have three farms in Mattituck, Jamesport, and Riverhead and are committed to protecting agricultural land and preserving their heritage as farmers. At these farms, families can enjoy their award-winning wines, fresh fruit and vegetables, farmyard animals and much more.
On Mother’s Day weekend, May 12th and May 13th the Annual Mother’s Day Festival will be held from 10am to 6pm. Mothers are given free admission to Harbes Barnyard Adventure for the whole weekend.
Attractions included in the Barnyard admission are pig races, a musical hayride tour, bouncing on jumbo pillows and animatronic musical chicken shows. A Trike Track, a Chick Observatory, a Goat Mountain and Slide, a Sports Zone and a Lil’ Farmer’s Playland are some of the other attractions.
Children will love the barnyard animals including Potbelly pigs, dairy goats, Nigerian dwarf goats, sheep, bunnies, horses, and chickens.
The farmstand at Harbes offers a variety of treats, including simple and rustic foods like roasted corn, tomato mozzarella paninis, apple cider donuts, kettle corn, freshly squeezed lemonade and ice cream in seasonal flavors. They also have fresh fruit and vegetables, and in the season, you can pick pumpkins and gourds off the vine. Many locally produced items like Tate’s chocolate chip cookies and North Fork Potato Chips are also available as well as Harbes 100% pure honey. The farmstand will open on the Mother’s Day Weekend Festival.
Harbes was a founding member of the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowers Association. It believes that vineyards should work in harmony with the natural world, leaving the land in a better condition than when it was found. The Mattituck farm has a Wine Barn where you can taste and buy wines. During the fall, wine tasting is possible at all their locations. The family has handcrafted award-winning wines for 12 years, and a visit to Harbes in Riverhead for its wines and all the other attractions is a great family outing.