Egg sandwiches, Ben & Jerry’s pints and empanadas day and night.
All can be purchased from the comfort of your car’s bucket seats at the drive-thru of the new Farm Stores location in Smithtown.
The Smithtown Farm Stores at 150 East Main Street opened in August after Tropical Storm Isaias prompted a “soft opening,” during which the Farm Stores ran on a generator to provide people with household goods.
The store, owned and operated by Valley Stream couple Christina Picarella and Carmelo Barone, and their extended family, also carries the essentials such as milk, eggs, bread, dry pasta, and first-aid supplies.
Though Farm Stores originated in South Florida in 1957, the drive-thru grocery serves up welcome nostalgia to Long Islanders who remember all the island’s Dairy Barns.
“Me, growing up in Valley Stream, I had one right up the block from my house,” said Picarella, 55. “So I was very familiar with the concept of the Dairy Barn-type store and loved it my whole life.”
But the Farm Stores menu, which includes freshly baked breads and a signature ham, egg and Swiss cheese sandwich, makes the new establishment “brighter and bigger and better” than the drive-thru chain of old, Picarella said.
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Long Islanders can also enjoy Hispanic foods that can be eaten on the go, from those soft and flaky Argentinian empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken, spinach or ham and cheese, to guava- and cheese-filled Venezuelan tequeños.
Picarella, Barone and the team secured development and franchise rights for the Long Island North Shore territory in 2018.
Shane Kavanagh and Nick Palumbo claimed the South Shore that same year, and that group’s first location opened in Island Park this past October.
While both stores carry similar groceries and other items, the Smithtown and Island Park locations offer local products unique to their stores.
Picarella, for example, orders original, raspberry and chocolate pizza crumbs from the Hummel Hummel Bakery in East Northport for Smithtown, and Kavanagh in Island Park carries beers from Nassau’s local breweries, including the Ghost Wave IPA from the Long Beach Brewing Company and the South Shore Craft Brewery’s Shark Bite IIPA.
Picarella and Kavanagh both said younger crowds swing by their Farm Stores for after-school snacks, like Dippin’ Dots, milkshakes and smoothies.
“We have a lot of kids that come riding up on their bikes, they love it,” Picarella said.
Kavanagh said older shoppers in Nassau often reminisce with him about riding their bikes to the old Dairy Barns in their youth.
They seem happy their kids can now do the same at Farm Stores.
“People just love to see a beloved community establishment return, and better than before,” said Kavanagh, 44, of Oyster Bay.
Picarella also said the drive-thrus have been a help for older residents during the pandemic.
“We’ve given a whole new world to the seniors,” she said. “A lot of them have welcomed us because they’ve had a sense of freedom again from being in with the pandemic and not being able to have the independence of shopping on their own.”
Come springtime, Picarella said she hopes to carry prepackaged Boars Head cold cuts and beer from local breweries as well.
“We’re always looking for something new in the area that someone thinks of,” she said. “We tell our customers too, if you’re ever interested and you want something you don’t see here let us know we’d be more than happy to have it for you.”
Once she can create the layout space for the machinery, she said she will begin producing and selling freshly squeezed orange juice, a staple of Florida’s Farm Stores.
Kavanagh’s Island Park location offers the fresh beverage in four sizes, and said it is “becoming wildly popular.”
The Smithtown location is just the beginning for Picarella and Barone. The ultimate goal: 50 Farm Stores on the North Shore in the next 10 years.