Notes from Sag Harbor


It’s not the daffodils. Forget the forsythia. Move over osprey. The true sign that spring has sprung is the first Lamborghini sighting! Just last Saturday, a sleek 2006 model was spotted parked just like any other car, almost, in an ordinary space on Main Street. Its sleek silver body shone in the morning sun like a giant chrome bird.

Further evidence: an over-eager gourmand tailed us from the Getty station directly to the cheese shop, then hopped out of her SUV and scurried inside to get in line before we’d killed the ignition. Later, a man in a daffodil-yellow polo and matching socks jaywalked across Main clutching a fistful of bills the way some would carry a bouquet. Because we had to come to an abrupt stop to avoid disaster, we noted they were 100s, not your ordinary 20s.

Welcome spring! Gentlepeople, start your engines!

For some, spring does mean a return to nature. Members of the “church farm” as it’s informally known, have just put in peas and onions. “There are lots of opinions,” said Joe Lane who’s been with the farm project since its inception three years ago. “Some people ?say you shouldn’t plow anymore,” so as not to disturb the fragile network of fibers and fungi that takes years to develop in the top inches of soil. Others have ideas about when to plant what. The loosely-knit group of a dozen members has nevertheless agreed on the first two crops.

“People don’t realize it’s play!” Joe said “It’s not really work. We’re like a bunch of kids playing in the dirt.” Meanwhile, tomato plants, leeks, and lettuces grow in greenhouses off-site to be planted later. Peppers and summer and winter squash will take their turn as well.

The church farm started with an idea shared by parishioners of the St. Andrews Church in Sag Harbor and Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in Bridgehampton. Pastor Ron Richardson gave his blessing, and the garden project broke ground in a fallow field behind the church parking lot. The group fenced off a one-acre plot of rich Bridgehampton loam.

“It’s strange,” Joe said of the soil. “It looks hard and crusty, but it’s very rich. It’s incredible.”

Joe was told it takes 20 years to get a farm going. But that doesn’t seem to bother him. According to scripture, even the tiniest of mustard seeds sprouted a huge bush to give birds shelter. Joe’s content to plant and watch things grow. “How beautiful! What surprises!”

He enjoys each season, tracking the late afternoon sun across the field, and sharing the harvest with friends. Last year, members were loaded down with tomatoes, beets, string beans and more. Membership is open to all for a $50 annual donation which partially covers material costs. The rest is made up privately, and by the church. Like weeding? Call Joe Lane at 725-3942.

Want to reduce that bulge of plastic bags in your storage cabinet? Try re-using them next time you go shopping. Store several bags in your car and tack up a reminder note where you’ll see it: “Bring bags!” It may take several tries to develop the habit of walking into the grocery store with bags in hand, but with some training, even we old dogs can learn new ways.

Schiavoni’s offers an incentive: Earn five cents per bag when you reuse their own shopping sacks so labeled. Or buy a sturdy reusable tote and make it a part of your eco-friendly ensemble. Celebrate Earth Day!

More ways to help the planet: join the Great East End Cleanup at Long Beach on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. until noon. Pierson High School students invite all to help clean up our own little corner of paradise. Refreshments will be provided by the Corcoran Group. Jeff Vilensky, at 553-5210, has more information.

Enjoy the great outdoors with hike leader Ken Bieger of the Southampton Trails Preservation Society. On Saturday, April 19, Ken will lead a four-mile hike around Trout Pond and Clam Island. The hike begins at 10 a.m. and ends around noon. Meet at the Trout Pond parking lot on Noyac Road. Call Ken at 283-5432 for details.

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