The Long Island Seed Project

The Big Duck

Dec. 5, 2007

If you are traveling east on Flander's Road from Riverhead, NY, you will see the Big Duck about 1/4 mile before you get to Flander's Bay Farm.  The giant waterfowl icon has been alongside of the road in Flanders for decades although it was moved into the pine barrens east of us a few years ago.  But now it's back where it was, in the original location that I remember it in as a kid.  We used to go to the duck to buy poultry and eggs (of course) until the early 1980's.  You can still go inside it to buy duck related souvenirs and it's especially nice all lit up with Christmas lights during the holiday season.

The duck stands at a former Long Island duck farm;  actually, it's reason for being.  When it was built, Long Island was one of the biggest producers of the white peking duck in the United States and the Flander's area had some very large duck producers.  This duck was built in the 1930's.  It's hard to find a real farm-bred Long Island duck these days.  I worry about agriculture and sustainable regional food production.  Long Island was in great shape at one time, a leader in pickling with acres of farmland in peppers, cucumbers and cabbage.  Then there was the Long Island potato crop which surpassed every state except for Maine and Idaho at one time.  I hate to mention the bay scallop and blue point oyster which were shipped to New York City by local baymen by the boatload in the 1930's, the acres of bogs producing barrels of cranberrys for the local markets and the magnificent harvest of wild blueberries every summer. 

The Duck is the time-worn testament to Long Island's one time agriculture glory.  Nice neighbor.

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