Local Ingredients Series: Shelly Sells Sea Salt

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Each weekend, wet suit and all, Michele Martuscello returns to the south shore of Long Island to harvest a new batch of sea salt. Her company, Shelly Sells Sea Salt, is the newest member of sea salt purveyors on the East End. And her signature product, freshly harvested and local sea salt, will be proudly served as part of our menu at Bistro 72.

“We are excited to work with Shelly and develop new and innovative ways to use sea salt in preparation and presentation of our cuisine at Bistro 72” says Chef Joey Cormier.

The idea to harvest sea salt began one evening during a walk on the beach. Martuscello and her mother wondered if they could harvest salt from the ocean themselves. The ingredient was a staple in their family’s cuisine given their Italian heritage and Michele’s father always promoted the idea of local food to the family.

What began as a novelty hobby turned into a business when friends and family began placing orders. Three years ago, Michele ‘Shelly’ Martuscello began selling the sea salt online. Since then, she has expanded her product line into scented sprays for hair as well as body scrubs. She also offers three flavored salts in addition to the original handmade version: Citrus, Black Truffle, and Hickory-Smoked.

The lavender-scented spray for hair is a popular seller at farmer’s markets, and goes to show there are many other uses for the sea salt beyond seasoning. Martuscello also uses her salt for everything from saline mouth wash to non-abrasive stain remover. She says that sea salt provides therapeutic benefits that start with the collection process and carry all the way into seeing the success of a finished batch.

Harnessing the local resources and patronizing small businesses of LI are integral to our restaurant’s mission, and we are proud to announce that Shelly’s Sea Salt will be present throughout our upcoming Fall menu.

East End Pickles: Backyard Brine Pickle Co.

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Driven by an interest in cooking and gardening, husband and wife Randy and Cori Kopke of Cutchogue have been making pickles for years. It was only after debuting their craft to a captive audience at Cori’s brother’s wedding in 2013 did the idea to start a business come to life. Thus, Backyard Brine was born.

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The couple made 200 jars of pickles to hand out as favors at the Montauk wedding with cute names like ‘Dill-Death-Do-Us-Part” and “We Go Together Like Bread and Butter.” The pickles were so popular at the wedding that the couple soon had people calling to place orders as they became the talk of the town.

With the help of the Stony Brook University Calverton Incubator, the Kopkes took it step-by-step and got a few lucky breaks along the way. While searching for produce to bolster their supply for fulfilling large orders, one purveyor offered to carry the pickles on the store’s shelves. Now, the pickles are found in over 100 locations all over Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and even as far as Maryland and Georgia. A huge milestone for the company was when Whole Food Markets, known nationally for their organic offerings, picked up the product and began rolling out the pickles to stores in New York. Soon, all Whole Foods locations in NYC and on Long Island will carry the product.

The pickles all follow unique and creative recipes and have novelty names like Rowdy Pepper Belly and BBQ-Betty Lou. Original recipes make up their core offerings, including Dill-Death-Do-Us-Part and “Everything” Bread and Butter, and they also offer seasonal specialties like Pumpernickel Ry-Ry. They are hand-packed in small batches and are made from produce and herbs sourced from both their backyard and North Fork farmers. The fresh, natural ingredients are all sourced locally, and besides growing cucumbers the two also grow peppers, onions, and dill.

In 2015, Backyard Brine graduated from the Calverton incubator to a new manufacturing site on Cox Lane in Cutchogue. The new facility helps support the growing demand for the signature product and also includes retail space for the “pickle bar” that the Kopkes envision. Inspired by the tasting rooms at local wineries, the pickle bar will be BYOB when it opens and allow guests to sample the lineup. Randy Kopke also currently offers many pairing suggestions for the company’s products with local wines and craft beers. He says that spicy pickles pair well with lighter beers like IPAs while sweet pickles pair better with a porter or stout.

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Long Islanders have come to embrace the new pickles as Backyard Brine continues receiving raving reviews and ever-increasing order quantities. They have a presence at farmers markets on nearly every weekend during the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and many Long Island restaurants including Bistro 72 are now permanently serving the crunchy snack as part of their menus. Even North Fork Chocolate Company in Aquebogue offers Backyard Brine pickles covered in dark chocolate and sea salt as a special twist to their candy lineup.

Backyard Brine offers 15 total varieties of pickles, including 5 types of dill pickles. The pickling process is different with each recipe, with some pickles fermented in water and sea salt over a period of time or the more traditional vinegar method.

Look for Backyard Brine pickles the next time you’re shopping on the North Fork, or visit backyardbrine.com to get a full listing of where you can get them. And of course, be sure to ask for a Backyard Brine pickle with your next lunch sandwich at Bistro 72.

Wine Enthusiast Just Gave These North Fork Wines 90+ Scores

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We all have our favorite go-to wines. If you’re looking to try out something new, here are our three East End picks from Wine Enthusiast’s September Buying Guide.

McCall 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc (93)

While 16 months in French barriques lends roundness of mouthfeel, there’s hardly any oak embellishment here. Instead, this wine offers a showcase of perfumed, concentrated black cherry and berry that shines through. It’s rich and mouthfilling, yet impeccably structured, with a long, delicately tannic finish.

Paumanok 2015 Sauvignon Blanc  (90)

While delicate in body, this elegantly perfumed wine bursts with zesty citrus and crisp honeydew flavors. It’s vivacious, cutting and fresh yet persistent through a long, slightly chalky finish.

Raphael 2015 Rose of Pinot Noir (90)

Sweet-tart red cherry and raspberry flavors cling lusciously on the palate of this dry yet buoyantly fruity wine. It’s easy-quaffing yet elegant, marked by vibrant cranberry acidity on the finish.

To see the rest of the Wine Enthusiast September reviews of LI wines, click here.

On Sundays, bring your favorite bottle of wine into Bistro 72 and enjoy it with your meal free of a corking charge.

These 5 LI Beers have us Excited for Fall

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Leaves crunching under your feet. Picking the perfect pumpkin. Football. Beer.

They’re all part of what makes Fall great on the East End. Here are 5 Fall beers, brewed right here on Long Island, that have us excited for the season.

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Crooked Ladder Brewing: Outta My Vine

Crooked Ladder’s annual Fall-time release, affectionately called Outta My Vine, has us thrilled  for crisp evening strolls. The Pumpkin Ale is brewed with cinnamon and fresh ginger, giving it a sweet roasty flavor.

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Greenport Harbor Brewing Company: Leaf Pile

Greenport Harbor’s Leaf Pile Ale has us anticipating the Autumn leaves, orange, yellow and red! The balanced beer has hand-selected additions of ginger, cinnamon, whole-bean vanilla, allspice, nutmeg and pumpkin. This aromatic brew is on the sweeter side and perfectly sippable after taking a hike through the deciduous woods of the North Fork.

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Blue Point Brewing Co: Oktoberfest

Keeping the Bavarian tradition alive, Blue Point’s Oktoberfest has us festive for Fall parties! The traditional lager, brewed for hundreds of years in the southern region of Germany, is copper in color with a full-bodied maltiness and light hints of spice.

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Great South Bay Brewery: Splashing Pumpkin

Splashing Pumpkin, Great South Bay Brewery’s rendition of Pumpkin Ale has us looking forward to pumpkin carving around the kitchen table. The pungent aroma of earthy pumpkin spice and cinnamon compliment the sweet caramel malty flavor.

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Long Ireland Beer Company: Pumpkin Ale

Long Ireland’s Pumpkin Ale is brewed with real pumpkin and has us craving for roasted pumpkin seeds! Along with pumpkin, the beer is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. This beer, unlike other Pumpkin Ales, isn’t too sweet or spicy. The perfect balance of flavor, this local beer is great for celebrating the harvest season on the East End.

These beers and others are available on tap at Bistro 72 through November. Availability is limited on seasonal varieties. Call or stop in to Bistro 72 for details.