Huntington business offers fresh, locally sourced food to residents during pandemic

A lot of businesses have been closed for months because of the pandemic, and many that decided to operate in a limited capacity. There are some that found they couldn’t make it, and others that had set a date to open in the spring, but put those plans on hold.
Harbor Harvest, a sustainable marketplace with a storefront in Norwalk, has been waiting years to open in Huntington and didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of those plans.
Co-owner of Harbor Harvest Bob Kunkle said, “My guys looked like they were going in to surgery in the shipyard, not like they were going to build a boat.”
Kunkle was better prepared than most to handle the coronavirus and the effects it could have on a business. He is a shipbuilder first and foremost with offices in South Korea. When it came to deciding whether to open up a second Harbor Harvest location or postpone until things reopened, those ties were crucial.
“The Koreans were looked at handling it as the gold standard. They were the ones we were first in touch with asking, ‘how are you dealing with this?’” he explained.
The goal for Harbor Harvest is to bring a sustainable marketplace to the Huntington community; a storefront with healthy, locally-sourced food from nearby farms.
Kunkle and his wife Marilyn, who co-owns Harbor Harvest with him, are doing that. Things look different inside than they originally envisioned, though. Customers are greeted by a table with hand sanitizer that’s made at a local distillery, gloves and their “COVID CRUSHERS” bandanas free to any customers who may have forgotten their mask.
Then, it’s all the good food. They have everything from meats and fish to fruits and vegetables, brought in from farms that are in need of business right now.
They even have a to-go menu. Every day Head Chef of Harbor Harvest Suzanne Schmitt goes through the store to look for items that should be cooked first as Harbor Harvest tries to waste as little food as possible. She creates different items for their menu. No two days have the same options. One day it could be a lobster bisque, the next a fruit salad.
“I never know what’s going to happen, I get to create all day long,” added Schmitt.
As big box stores struggle to keep fresh items on their shelves and restaurants cautiously plan their reopening, Harbor Harvest has been helping Huntington to make it through it’s toughest days.
Kunkle said, “We felt Huntington needed this and from the response we’ve gotten from the Huntington area— it was true.”
When it is safe to do so, Harbor Harvest will open an outdoor seating area, so you can enjoy the food dockside and view one of their coolest features - a hybrid ship to bring local, fresh produce to Norwalk and visa versa. It has no emissions and makes no noise so Huntington Harbor is not polluted on their daily trips.