The Peconic Land Trust has successfully sold four parcels on Oregon Road in Cutchogue as part of its Future Farmers Protection Program.

The offering, one of the largest in the trust’s history, includes more than 135 acres of fertile farmland divided into four parcels stretching from Depot Lane on the east to Alvahs Lane on the west and Oregon Road on the north. A portion of the easternmost parcel lies on a narrow strip south of Highway 48.

Earlier this month, the trust issued a request for proposal To potential buyers who want to farm that land. The RFP, due April 24, received a total of 13 responses from experienced farmers described by the Trust with promising proposals for the future of the land.

One company – Mattituck Farm Holdings LLC. – currently owns the property, with the trust acting as contract buyer — essentially an intermediary between the potential buyer and the holding company — according to the trust.

Among the rules set in the RFP: the applicant should be a qualified farmer.

“This is part of our plans for the farm of the future,” said Daniel Heston, director of the Trust’s agriculture programme. “The purpose of this RFP is to ensure that the land is owned by real farmers. That’s why this is. Through this program, we can protect the future of agriculture here.

“We had 13 responses to those four packages,” Mr Hurston added. “We’re delighted that there’s so much interest out there. They’re all great applications.”

Since the Trust’s founding in 1983, the nonprofit organization has helped preserve more than 14,000 acres of farmland and open space. While overall conservation is one of the Trust’s main objectives, maintaining the region’s rich farmland production is at the heart of its mission.

“The Peconic Land Trust is pleased to sell the farmland,” John Halsey, the group’s president, said in an email to the Suffolk Times. “As we continue to see continued pressure from development, our aim is to keep farmland in the hands of those who will use it productively as intended.”

The Oregon Road runs east-west, parallel to the Long Island Sound, from Mattituck to Bridge Lane in Cutchogue. Its beauty stems from its wide-open views, fertile soil and rich farming history. For generations it has been home to second and third generation Irish and Polish families who grow potatoes, cauliflower and strawberries.

If the North Fork has an agricultural soul—and a stretch of road can somehow contain past, present and future—then it’s the Oregon Road. Advocates who believe that open space and farmland are unique to the North Fork also know that conservation is the only way forward.

The four parcels and prices listed by the Trust as the lowest bid in the RFP are:

  • 5780 Oregon Road, Cutchogue. 54.63 acres including 52.53 acres of protected agricultural land and 2.1 acres of development. Lowest offer: $2.1 million.
  • 8500 Alvahs Lane, Cutchogue. 26.07 acres including 23.81 acres of protected agricultural land and 2.26 acres of development. Lowest bid: $1.2 million.
  • 19285 and 19155 County Road 48, Cutchogue. 12.82 mu of farmland is protected. Minimum offer: $400,000.
  • 7800 Oregon Road, Cutchogue. The agricultural land protection area is 41.78 mu. Minimum offer: $1 million.

Southold Town director Scott Russell, who has been a strong supporter of conservation efforts during his tenure at council, welcomed the trust’s move.

“This is another example of how important the Peconic Land Trust is to protecting our farms and open spaces,” he said. “Their success rate is measured by the many landscapes we enjoy throughout our community. Additionally, their strong commitment to conservation agriculture will impact generations to come.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *