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Farm, Fish Crops Big in ‘03

Footnotes to Long Island History

Farm Fish Crops Big in 03
December 13, 1951

by

Thomas R. Bayles


       Tremendous quantities of farm produce and fish were shipped from Long Island over the Long Island Rail Road around the turn of the century, as is shown by the following article from the Port Jefferson Times for February 27, 1904. The rail road gets very little of this business in these days.

      "During the past year there were shipped by the Long Island Rail Road from points on the two eastern forks of the island, 250,000 tons of fresh fish included cod, bluefish, weakfish, sturgeon, bass and flounders. There were carried over the same railroad lines 30,000 barrels of crabs from Center and East Moriches, Brookhaven and Eastport and thousands of boxes of scallops some of which have lately been bringing $4.00 per gallon. There are 40 or 50 steamers of the American Fisheries company which catch menhaden by the millions and try them out at Promised Land, Easthampton and Barren island on Jamaica bay.

      "Important as the fishing industry is, the agriculture interests on Long Island are far greater. During the Cauliflower season last fall there were shipped over the long Island rail road over 285,000 barrels of cauliflower from eastern towns. There were also shipped from the north fork of the island 300 carloads of 600 bushels each of potatoes. From the same section thousands of barrels and other packages of onions, cucumbers, asparagus cabbage and other produce were shipped to the New York markets.

        "The steamers of the Montauk line last fall took from Orient Point 34,000 barrels of potatoes, 6,000 barrels of cucumbers and large quantities of other produce. Large shipments of potatoes and other vegetables were also made by the boat line from Greenport and Shelter Island.

       "George W. Hallock of Orient also ships across the sound in his steamer to the Boston market over 300,000 barrels of produce, about a quarter of which is produced of his own farms at Orient.

      "The cranberry crop from Riverhead, Calverton and Manorville amounts to thousands of boxes annually and is raised on what would be otherwise almost worthless bog meadows. This is an important crop from eastern Long Island.

     "It is estimated that nearly a million bushels of potatoes are shipped by the railroad every year from the fertile farms of Easthampton and Southampton. Last fall thousands of bushels of lima beans were shipped from Deer Park to Riverhead on the mainline. From the pickle houses at Farmingdale, Central Park, Hicksville, Syosset, Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington and Northport are shipped every year thousands of barrels of pickles of various kinds. A large quantity of tomato catsup is made in a factory in Hunting ton.

      "From the highly cultivated farms and market gardens of Queens, Nassau and western Suffolk counties are carried immense quantities of vegetables of all kinds to the Brooklyn and Manhattan markets by market wagons. From August until the Christmas holidays an average of 250 market wagons a day roll into Wallabout market loaded with an average of 50 barrels each of vegetables of all kinds. On some days as many as 500 wagons may be seen in the market. About 30 to 40 wagons daily go over the College Point ferry to the Harlem market and about 50 wagons daily to the same markets over the Astoria ferry.

      "Long Island cordwood is a prominent article in the city kindling wood yards and it chestnut ties are sought after by the railroads and its oak and black walnut by furniture manufacturers."

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