Although The North Fork of Long Island is less than 100 miles from The Big Apple, in many cases, its’ culinary secrets have not yet been discovered. Known for its sweeping farmland, world class vineyards, quaint hamlets and more, the North Fork is a hidden jewel that offers a vast array of local to table selections.
With that vision, North Fork Authentic has been launched with the goal of bringing the stories of these uncovered gems to the chef, restaurant and foodservice professional. For Brent Robertson, the visionary behind the creation of North Fork Authentic the goal is to establish a homegrown unified regional brand.
The initiative is focused on bringing the North Fork’s producers, harvesters, manufacturers and service providers, under a single marketing banner to celebrate and market the area’s wide diversity of unique products. Committed to enhancing the value of North Fork products and services, the group’s aim is to assist many of these local firms to establish year-round sustainability for the region and its local economy by finding new marketplaces.
“The idea is to grow the region into what the Hudson Valley has become locally and what Napa is nationally,” Robertson said. “We’re about promoting the North Fork and everyone here. We want to unify the community and promote them through their stories.”
With that goal in mind, North Fork Authentic has partnered with one of Long Island and the nation’s truly iconic brands: Crescent Duck. The Aquebogue, NY based company has a history that dates back to 1908, when owner Doug Corwin’s great grandfather started the company as a well to provide for his ill wife and three young sons.
“Crescent Duck was ‘launched’ because back in 1907 my Great Grandmother became ill and Great Grandfather needed to quit his contracting job, which required travel that was rather slow in those days,” explains Corwin. “He had plenty of land bought by our ancestors in the 1640’s, and decided to use it growing ducks to make his living, while being at the same time being home to tend to Great Grandmother. Starting a duck farm was an obvious choice given the sandy nature of the lands, along with ducks being an industry on Long Island at that time. My family was one of the original settlers of the North Fork. We have been growing ducks for five generations.”
The North Fork Authentic firm has set its site on sharing the Crescent Duck story with potential buyers. Corwin’s deep long-time experience at Crescent Duck will serve as a bellwether for other members of the new group.
“In the early days of our business, we supplied the Asian, foodservice and retail trades,” Corwin explained. According to Corwin, chefs who utilize the Crescent Duck line immediately recognize the quality. Corwin has seen a number of changes in the role that duck plays on menus. “What used to be duck l’orange, or Asian Peking duck has evolved into pizzas, salads and enchiladas. As restaurants compete for customers, they are willing to pay for quality. So it’s chefs who keep Crescent thriving.”
One such chef is Noah Schwartz of Noah’s in Greenport, NY. The North Fork restaurant was established in 2010 and focuses on offering the freshest seasonal ingredients from the Twin Forks of Eastern Long Island and around the world. “My culinary experiences took me down a path of utilizing and sourcing local as much as possible,” he noted. As a native to Long Island, he grew up in Nassau County and then studied at the New England Culinary Institute up in Vermont.
He then moved to Napa in California’s Sonoma Valley, where he worked with different chefs and actually had the opportunity to meet somebody who owned a local duck farm out in the Petaluma area. “So when I returned back to Long Island, I was excited to find a high quality local duck producer with Crescent,” he noted. “People know Long Island for ducks, so Crescent Duck was a perfect local fit for our menu.”
Schwartz prepares his duck offerings on small plate presentations and sometimes as an entrée. “We have a small plate, which is sort of like a shared appetizer and have an entrée with duck confit duck legs right now. For the entrée, it’s a Crescent Duck barbecue and it’s served over a smoked cheddar polenta [pictured below]. We make the barbecue sauce with pomegranate molasses and Chipotle peppers. It gives it sweet tart and spicy flavors, which compliments that rich, smoky polenta really well. That’s then finished with some very thinly sliced green onions for a little texture and color.”
Chef Schwartz’s goal is to educate people with the sourcing of items on the Noah’s menu. “So I try to promote a location and/or a farmer’s name on items on our menu. Crescent Duck is at the top of that list and we are lucky enough to know most of the purveyors who bring meat and oysters. I’m on a first name basis with most of those guys. So it’s nice to live in a community where we have that kind of relationship with our suppliers.”
“North Fork Authentic is an effort by farmers, vineyards, processors and the restaurant industry to showcase all this lovely region does,” Corwin continued. “It is only natural to band together with others from here to shout out to others what we do.”
Peterson’s priority is to wrap the Crescent Duck story into the launch of North Fork Authentic. Utilizing the latest in technology, the group has established a website.
“Our goal is to bring more awareness to the industry about what the region offers,” Peterson concluded.