A Culinary Farm Grows at 1760 Homestead in Riverhead
One of the oldest standing farms on the North Fork, 1760 Homestead Farm is well known for its famous grape pies and its toxin-free approach to growing heirloom-quality produce. Now, the Sound Avenue operation is growing its creative offerings with more farm-to-table prepared foods and on-site experiences, as well as a rotating lineup of guest chefs dropping in to compliment their delicious array of specialities already grown and hand-made on the premises.
When Larry Kaiser and Margaret Feinberg purchased the historic Northville property in 2013, they saved it from being subdivided. As the fourth-ever owners of the 4.5 acre farm, Kaiser said their intention all along has been to preserve its history while continuing to operate it as a functional homestead. The couple owns a landscaping business they’ve stepped back from to focus on growing the Homestead brand and getting the word out that it’s much more than just a farm stand.
While Homestead has always been known for its beyond-organic flowers, eggs, produce, and herbs, they are now in the process of re-imagining the Homestead as a “culinary farm” – a place where visitors can experience how food is taken from seed-to-plate and learn about what it really meant to sustain one’s self before the advent of pre-packaged foods and supermarkets. Kaiser and Feinberg want you to see the labor-of-love it takes to run a sustenance farm the old-fashioned way.
“Homestead is multi-faceted. We’re trying to drive people here as a destination. We call ourselves ‘The Biggest Little Farm on the North Fork.’ We do so many different things,” said Kaiser, the resident chef. “You can come here and get fresh eggs, heirloom produce, flowers, planters … we do soups, salads, marinara sauces, like a grab and go. What we do has expanded over the years to the point where we’re constantly evolving. This is one of the few places you can come to where we have the barn set up like a farmer’s market and you can see the original 1760 building and others as they were over two hundred years ago.”
Homestead also offers an array of gifting, hosting, and pantry needs, including honeys, soaps, and olive oils that make for great gift-basket and entertaining ideas.
Other features of the landmark farm include a menagerie of rescue animals, beautiful walking paths, and picnic areas to sit and enjoy the atmosphere in the shade of its meticulously preserved out-buildings. They do BYOB, as well, and are ready to make your lunch and dinner plans are a breeze. Daily items prepared in-house include focaccia, eggplant caponata, marinara and pesto sauces, and an assortment of fresh baked favorites, like grape pie and shoo-fly pie, made with an “old world recipe” that Kaiser said dates back to 1800.
On Sundays, Homestead Farm now offers a farm-to-table experience created with a guest chef that takes place inside the 200-year-old historic barn. Kaiser said they will do an al la carte menu from 12-4 pm, and reservations are strongly encouraged (places go quick). All the ingredients used come from the farm and it’s packaged in to-go containers.
“You have the option if you’re going to the beach to come in and pick up four or five items to take with you, or if you want to grab a bottle of wine from a local vineyard and hang out on our picnic area or in the barn, you can do that, too.”
One thing you won’t find much of at 1760 Homestead Farm is “agritainment” – bouncy castles, playgrounds, and seasonally-themed activities – since it’s more in keeping with the historic charm of Homestead, Kaiser said. Plus, taking visitors back in time works better without too many modern distractions. “We wanted to maintain some integrity that this is the North Fork the way it used to be. We love it when someone asks about a pink tomato or purple green bean and they’re like, ‘What is this?’”
Many East Enders already know Homestead Farm for its toxin-free approach to agriculture.
“When I started growing food for myself I decided I’m not going to spray, I want it to be natural, pure. I don’t care if there’s a blemish on a tomato or if a cucumber is crooked, it’s going to taste real. We’ve developed a specific clientele that comes to us because they know we don’t spray.”
1760 Homestead Farm is located at 5412 Sound Avenue in Riverhead. Visit 1760homesteadfarm.com to learn more.