By Peter Sloggatt
A customized catamaran built to ferry freight across Long Island Sound made a test voyage to Huntington last week in preparation for starting regular operations in early summer.
Harbor Harvest’s cargo craft pulled in to a dock behind its future market currently under construction on New York Avenue in Halesite. On board was just a single pallet which was hoisted by the on-deck crane in a test of what Captain Robert Kunkel hopes will be a frequent occurrence.
Kunkel is president of Alternative Marine Technologies and a marine consultant. The business operates Harbor Harvest, a waterfront farm-to-table market in Norwalk, Conn. Once the Huntington location is open, the operation will begin ferrying produce and locally produced goods like bakery products and craft beers across Long Island Sound. The aim is to open up farm-to-table markets to growers, and artisan bakers and makers on both sides of Sound.
Sustainability is at the core of the entire operation. The catamaran runs on electric power and pickups and deliveries at the Huntington market/warehouse will be by electric vehicles.
“No 18-wheelers,” Kunkel said. The boat is run completely on batteries, so there’s no emissions, no environmental impact and no noise.”
Meanwhile, workers are finishing out the building that will house a marketplace with some seating, as well as a warehouse space. The 4500-square-foot space is being finished with a modern, rustic look with wide plank wood flooring, plenty of exposed wood and custom pieces ion steel and wood. One piece is a whimsical tables with a bicycle for a base.
“The guys in the shop like to get creative,” Kunkel said.
So far Kunkel has about $3-million in the project, he said. A federal transportation grant will fund future operations and expansion.