By Danny Schrafel
A historic farming family that has grown a century’s worth of roots in the East Northport area has teamed up with the Greenlawn-Centerport Historical Association to open a new farm stand at the Gardiner Farm.
For the historical society, it’s an opportunity to raise new funds and bring attention to the historic farm stand while “continuing what the Gardiners did for 200 years,” said Greenlawn-Centerport Historical Association Treasurer Tony Guarnaschelli.
“We’ve always wanted to open a vegetable stand, but we didn’t have the help and the people who knew what to do,” Guarnaschelli said.
For the Carlsons, that desire became an opportunity to expand their business to a new part of town.
The Carlson family has been farming in East Northport since 1898. It also grows tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peppers and cantaloupe on 10 acres in Melville. And with everything else – except for Jersey peaches, a customer favorite – the family prides itself on exclusively supporting Long Island farmers, bakers and artisans. Those growers include the historical society, which uses the Gardiner Farm grounds to raise tomatoes, cabbage, eggplants, butternut squash, beans and more.
The farm stand launched on July 1 and is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Guarnaschelli said he’s optimistic that the new venture will succeed and become the historical society’s third major fundraising avenue, joining the 36th Pickle Festival in September and Antique Show in the winter.
“This should go over fantastic. There’s nothing around there, and people like fresh produce,” he said.
Adding to his optimism – the famous Lollipop train, which returned to service in 2013 after a decades-long wait, will be open for riders every Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
That in itself should be a draw, Guarnaschelli said. Last year, 1,110 kids rode the train at the Pickle Festival.