One of the most ridiculous stories that has come out this year is the Lester family’s inability to operate a farm stand on their property in Amagansett. They have been fined thousands of dollars and have been raided more than twice by the DEC, all because they are doing something that their family has been doing for centuries.
Last week the Lester family went to court over the issue, and a packed room of people showed up to support them.
The argument is that the Lesters should not be allowed to sell fish that they catch on their own land out of a modest farm stand because they do not have the proper state licensing for it. I’ve been to this farm stand before, and it is extremely small and the issue has been blown completely out of proportion. There are plenty of other people who locally catch clams and sell them out of coolers on the side of the road. I’ve even seen people do this in Flanders. It is not hurting anyone, is not hurting the environment and is not hurting anybody’s business. It is a nice thing for everybody. Why the Lesters have been in so much trouble is sort of beyond my understanding, but it seems to me that it is more political and personal than anything else. The Lester family is not getting rich selling clams—it is very small scale, very low key, very off the beaten path.
What’s next? Confiscating and arresting kids with lemonade stands?
This is an embarrassment if you ask me.