By Rachel Bosworth
Now is the time of year when de-feathered fowl are the stars of our dinner menus, dressed and complemented by heart-warming sides and all the fixings. It is a time to be thankful for family and friends, and for the local farmers and purveyors that allow us such deliciously fresh meals year in and year out. Turkeys of course are the focal point of Thanksgiving feasts, and the unassuming gem that is North Sea Farms in Southampton is a staple for many residents on the East End.
“We’re part of people’s holiday traditions,” said owner and farmer Richard King, who sees many of the same families year after year.
Driving down the wood-shadowed winding road to the farm, it could be easy to miss if it weren’t for the large green and white egg-shaped sign advertising their own farm fresh chicken eggs. Specializing in poultry, North Sea Farms is a coveted shopping stop for home chefs as it is one of just a handful of farms in the Hamptons that raises their own birds. With 5,000 chickens raised annually on 10 operational acres, there’s a lot of fowl to be had.
The farm was taken over by Mr. King’s grandfather in 1945 when he returned from World War II. Since that time, North Sea Farms has grown exponentially to include more than chickens and eggs. “We started offering turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas 25 years ago,” recalled Mr. King.
As a result, the farm has been able to offer a variety of poultry products from their own stock including eggs, homemade turkey sausage, and even turduckens upon request. All birds are free-range, and antibiotic and hormone free. Because they are raised humanely and naturally, the taste is certainly worth the $4.99/pound price tag.
Mr. King’s family has become somewhat of Hamptons staple with their beautiful family farmstand attracting locals and visitors alike for not just a variety of birds, but an assortment of homegrown produce, locally grown fruits, and baked goods. “It’s food you love to eat,” Mr. King said.
Another family brand that East Enders have come to know and love is Tate’s Bake Shop; cookies and treats that have become internationally recognized. Founded by Mr. King’s sister, Kathleen King, the love for baked goods came at the early age of 11 when she used to bake chocolate chip cookies and sell them at the family farmstand. The company was named after their father, Richard “Tate” King, Sr., who passed away earlier this year.
While orders for Thanksgiving birds come in weeks in advance, the preparation of all turkeys for the holiday are done the week-of. Mr. King not only raises these birds, but also butchers and dresses them as well for a truly authentic fresh-off-the-farm feast. “We raise about 900 turkeys a year for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said.
Mr. King’s wife, Robin, also prepares a number of sides and sweets that can be ordered for the holiday including homemade gravy, cranberry relish, and Mr. King’s personal favorite, chocolate mallow pie.
A visit to the farmstand on Noyac Road is more than just a quick stop for local farm fresh food. It is also home to a number of resident farm animals such as goats, pigs, and even peacocks children and adults can enjoy during their visit.
As farm-to-table and eating local are part of our everyday vocabulary, family owned and operated farms like North Sea Farms offer incomparable taste you won’t find in the aisles of your average grocery store.
To reserve your turkey, call North Sea Farms at (631) 283-0735.