Turn left off out of the distillery, right, then left again, then carry on 18 miles of the North Road. Pass through vineyards and fields, vinters and farms. Depending on the time of year it’s petals or husks, of sunflowers or corn, fluttering by. Midsummer strawberries or autumn pumpkins on vines, cars stopped & filled with peepers or scarf dawned & down-windowed cruisers in convertibles, any may dot the tour.
On a good day in September the drive takes 30 minutes. Salt gusts and late greens giving over to alluvial dips and tall trees, as you wind your way to a farm stand, a wooded bluff, and a mile of orchards nestled between. It’s a trip that on cool mornings begs the escape. And a trip that we out here at Matchbook are lucky enough to make often, to Briermere Farms.
A few month’s back I had the chance to spend a morning wandering around the farm with Clark McCombe. Through late cicada, far off waves, and our own chatter about generations, school, photography, and pie we took in the small, infinite feeling orchards. Rows of fruiting trees sank into a small valley between the North Road and the Sound, asking if the gulch formed under the weight of the orchard’s bounty.
Fruit season, midsummer through as late as the fall allows, is an intensely busy and happy time for us. Our attentions turn to berry aperitif, fruit vermouth, eau de vie, and seasonal sparklers. From Clark we procure rhubarb, apricots, peaches, cider apples (the Newtown Pippin is a distillery favorite) and if we are lucky a handful of Briermere’s famous fruit pies that drive traffic on the Wading River side of the North Road.
If you’ve been to this farm and it’s bustling summer filled stand you get it. If you’ve not you have happy first trip in store. Our final haul from Briermere last year was a couple hundred pounds of Damson Plums that we tossed whole into a drum and covered with NY spirit. Released this past Friday it’s now a Plum Sec.
Everything we make out here at Matchbook has a story, of neighbors, community, and locale. Here’s one with an extra bit of shine.