The Densieski Farm Stand in East Quogue has been growing strong for 100 years. “Not very many farms on Long Island can say 100 years,” Edmund Densieski Jr. said, standing behind the counter of his family’s farm stand on Lewis Road last week. “Everyone knows the name.”
It all started in 1918, when his grandmother Constance Densieski told a Riverhead lawyer to “find her a farm.” That same year, she and her husband, Antone Densieski, moved to the 40-acre property on Lewis Road with 10-year-old Edmund Densieski—the current owner’s father.
The 67-year-old farmer added that his grandparents farmed with horses instead of tractors and raised livestock, such as pigs and cows. Their crops ranged from corn to squash, tomatoes and potatoes. “They grew everything,” he said.
Besides trading in the horses for modern equipment and updating the farm stand to sell dairy products, North Fork Chips and Backyard Brine Pickles, not much has changed. To this day, the name Densieski means “homegrown, fresh vegetables,” Mr. Densieski’s granddaughter Samantha Oudeans said, her long brown hair tied back in a ponytail.
“You can see the evidence with the farmland that we grow it right here,” her sister, Taylor Oudeans, added, motioning toward the 40 acres of farmland behind the stand. “It can’t get any better than that.”
But Antone Densieski dreamed it could.
During World War II, he bought nearly 50 acres across the street, which Mr. Densieski now owns and operates. He has been working the same fields since he was 5 years old.
Now, starting his day with a single cup of coffee, he devotes approximately 90 hours per week to harvesting, planting and maintaining the two farm properties. He also manages an additional 110 acres down the road, which is split between the Kijowski and Wright families.
“He’s the hardest worker we know,” Ms. Oudeans said.
“The customers truly appreciate everything he does,” her sister added, as Bob Klein of East Quogue approached the counter to purchase 10 cartons of the farm’s signature “pick-your-own” strawberries. “We’ve had the same customers for years on years on years.”
In the field, Mr. Klein’s wife, Linda Klein, said her family has been coming to Densieskis Farm for nearly a decade. “You can’t beat freshly-picked strawberries,” she said, sifting through the smaller, less-ripe strawberries to find the biggest, sweetest ones.
Rachel Blechman of Hampton Bays said the Densieskis have the “sweetest corn and the most ripe tomatoes.” She added, “Truly what a farm stand should be.”
Dawn Penny, another loyal customer from Hampton Bays, agreed: They have the “best corn, asparagus, beets and carrots.”
“Why would you not want to support the local farmers?” Ms. Penny asked. “If we don’t support the locals, one day they will be gone.”
However, most Hampton Bays residents don’t know that they eat Mr. Densieski’s homegrown vegetables on a daily basis. For nearly 20 years, local grocery stores, including both the King Kullen and Stop & Shop in Hampton Bays, have carried the farmer’s locally grown produce.
“He comes off very modest about it,” Ms. Oudeans said. “We’re really proud of him.”
She added that the farm stand’s biggest sellers are asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, and, of course, Mr. Densieski’s favorite: sweet corn.
In fact, to keep up with his family’s and the community’s demand for the sweet corn, Mr. Densieski has devoted 40 acres strictly to growing the sweet summertime staple. He’s out every week planting new kernels and harvesting the yellow, white and bi-colored ears, which take approximately 67 to 80 days to mature.
“I like it all—I eat what I grow,” he said. “People ask me when I’m going to retire, and I say: ‘The day they close the lid of my coffin.’”