by Emily Mancini |
For Bob Nolan, head of operations at Deer Run Farms in Brookhaven, vegetable farming is a family affair. A fourth generation farmer himself, Nolan’s wife, Janet, son Samuel and daughter Valerie help him tend to the 49-acre farm on South Country Road.
Nolan’s great-grandfather started the family farming business in the early 1900s in Middle Village, Queens, after emigrating from Germany. The family moved farther and farther east, until finally settling in Brookhaven in 1953.
Farming has changed a lot since Nolan’s grandfather Herman Lohman and his uncle Henry Lohman ran the farm.
The Lohmans grew a wide variety of vegetables, as East Enders depended exclusively on local crops. Faced with the influx of West Coast crops and pressure from the recent population boom, Nolan and his fellow East End farmers had to make some adjustments to stay in business.
Now, Deer Run Farms grows some of the finest specialty lettuce, spinach, and cabbage on Long Island. Nolan started with classics like Romaine, Boston, Red and Green Leaf Lettuce, lettuce you find in a typical salad. Following some customer requests, Nolan began delving into specialty crops like French Iceberg and Red Batavia, which has a unique texture and crispier leaf. Locals loved the new varieties and the unparalleled freshness.
“Deer Run has the best produce,” said East Ender Dan Rohr. “I live local, so I buy local, and I love it.”
Chef Terri Novak of RHUM will be using fresh basil and Italian parsley from Deer Run Farms in her weakfish entree for the six-course Island to Table event on July 30.
Chef Richard Kanowsky of Toast Coffeehouse will be incorporating purple scallions, which are mild and sweet-flavored, into his dishes.
Tickets to the event are $150 each.
The cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m. on Terry Street in Patchogue.
Photo Credit: Deer Run Farms on Facebook