7 Things to Love About February


Ladle of maple syrup

Only 28 days. Probably the most important thing to love about February is that it is our shortest month. Considering the wintery weather we have endured this year, I am particularly grateful this is not a leap year. Every day counts when it comes to getting us closer to spring.

No school! School kids, as well as kids at heart, get a week-long, mid-month vacation in celebration of our presidents. Do not despair if you are among those of us who will be spending President’s Week here on Long Island and not in warmer climes; we have discovered several events to get everyone out of the house. Benner’s Farm will be holding their annual Maple Syruping Day on Saturday, February 21 at their East Setauket farm. Learn how maples are tapped and what gets the sap flowing (warmer days, yay!). Watch the Benners boil down the sap to make syrup and maple candy and taste some fresh local syrup poured over hot griddled pancakes. Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank is hosting Winter Break at the Farm. Beginning on Monday February 16 and running through Friday February 20, this camp is ideal for cooped-up future farmers from kindergarten through sixth grade. Come for the week or just a day; the farm animals will be happy to see you.


Eat your sunshine. If you are like me, you just cannot get enough citrus this time of year. While clementines and tangerines are nearing the end of their seasons in Florida, Meyer lemons (Food52 has 437 recipes for Meyer lemons), Valencia (juicing) oranges and grapefruit are quickly hitting their peak seasons. Broiled grapefruit with cinnamon sugar is a surefire way to give a February morning a sunny start.


The Year of the Goat. Chinese New Year begins on Thursday, February 19 and runs until the full moon on March 5. The Chinese New Year is the most important and longest celebration in the lunar calendar: fireworks, lantern festivals and family feasts will mark the Year of the Goat. Chinese restaurants (Chinese take-out, not-so-much) all over Long Island will be serving auspicious dishes to ensure a healthy and prosperous year for all. Gong Xi Fa Cai!


Long Island Winterfest. The 8th Annual Long Island Winterfest – Live on the Vine, a six-week musical celebration of Long Island’s wine country kicks off on Friday February 20 with a weekend full of no less than 22 different live musical performances at as many different venues. Jazz, Blues, Soul, Pop, Americana Roots, R&B, Rock, and Singer/Songwriter; there is something for everyone at this 6-week east end happening. Insider tip: Pick a weekend and spend a night or two; there are a number of hotels and B&Bs that have special Winterfest packages.


Valentine’s Day and so much more. Most of us tend to think that Valentine’s Day owns the month of February, but those of us “in the know”, know otherwise. Tasty upcoming holidays include National Fettuccine Alfredo Day (February 7), National Bagels and Lox Day (February 9), Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday February 17, which is also Mardi Gras), National Cherry Pie Day (February 22, in honor of GW’s legendary cherry tree), National Clam Chowder Day (February 25), National Chili Day (February 27) and finish up the month on a sweet note with National Chocolate Souffle Day (February 28).

ELI-Local Heroes 2015

And the winner is… February 18 is the last day to vote for your Edible Long Island Local Heroes. The winners in five different categories, Chef/Restaurant, Farm/Farmers, Food Shop/Market, Food/Beverage Artisan and Nonprofit/Advocate, will be announced online at just about the same time as Hollywood’s A-listers hit the Red Carpet on February 22. If you haven’t voted yet, vote now!