When I was a child, my father would take me driving along the Gold Coast of Long Island to gather leaves on many a crisp, fall afternoon. We’d get out of the car at random leaf clusters along the road in Roslyn, Glen Cove, the Brookvilles, and picked the brightest colors in full form. He had one of those self-adhesive scrapbooks. We lined their pages, year after year, with foliage in yellows, oranges, reds, auburns, even the occasional tint of blue.
Once we were finished, he’d make a turn off Northern Boulevard, drive down Hegemans Lane, and pull into Youngs Farm. It was customary to have a treat. A slice of pie or some fudge were my favorites. These memories made up my childhood and stood out because, out of all the places he could have taken me, he took me to this small farm stand.
The Youngs family has been on Long Island since the founding days and the farm itself began long before the Village of Old Brookville was incorporated in 1929. The story begins in 1893 when John Youngs married Ida Hegeman, thus Youngs Farm on Hegemans Lane. It is now five generations running.
Tim Dooley, a manager at Youngs Farm, has been involved for eight years. He runs the business with his wife, Remsen, and mother-in-law, Paula Youngs Weir, owner of the farm. Originally, the farm only sold local milk. Now, it sells around 50 different crops across 10 acres, with five acres being seasonal cover crops.
“I think the common thread between generations is the pride that each person takes in the quality of the products we are selling and also the pride of thriving on this land in this location. Each generation seems very different and no one has been required to be a part of it. However, I think there is an intrinsic reward from making something that brings people some joy and comfort while also making a living,” Dooley said.
Some of the most productive crops are berries, carrots, beets, lettuces, string beans, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer and fall squash, flowers, and herbs. Tomatoes are the farm’s best seller, with an increase in lettuce sales every year. Each crop is sustainably farmed, a signature the family signs on the NOFA-NY Farmer’s Pledge each season. In essence, the family promises to farm organic without going through any certification process.
The fields are rotated each season, there’s an on-site compost, and the farm opts for using a spader instead of plow, which reduces tillage depth. Each technique improves soil quality and contributes to environmentally conscious behavior.
The small building stands amid lush greenery, with the iconic Gold Coast mansions in the distance. It has a commercial kitchen and bakery on-site, putting out soups, quiches, pot pies, cookies, breads, muffins, biscuits, scones, pies, and cakes.
Beyond its own goods and produce, Youngs Farm supports other local farms; eggs from Armstrong Dairy in Lattingtown; produce from Orkestai Farm in Upper Brookville, Schmitt’s Farm in Riverhead, Fox Hollow Farm in Calverton, Wells Homestead Acres in Aquebogue, Briermere Farms in Riverhead, Wickham Fruit Farms in Cutchogue, and Densieski Farm in East Quogue.
“We would like to offer customers even more than we grow ourselves. We will also continue to strive to increase the quality and consistency of all the products we hope helps us grow through word of mouth,” Dooley concluded. Beyond edible delights, Youngs offers gifts and housewares.
The future of Youngs Farm looks fruitful, with aims to expand vegetable production into year-round offerings and increase varieties of current produce.
Youngs Farm is located at 91 Hegemans Lane in Old Brookville.
This article originally appeared in The Independent Newspaper.