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A Letter from Local Farmer Hank Kraszewski

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November 9, 2017

Hank Kraszewski, III

My family and friends say I was born to farm. And thanks to the Peconic Land Trust, and the support of this community, I get up every morning to do the work I love.



Growing up around my dad and grandpa, I watched how the farm was their entire life—their love and their passion—so it wasn’t hard for me to fall for it too. Out on the farm is my favorite place to be, the first place I can’t get to fast enough in the mornings and where I’m reluctant to leave even after it gets dark.

 My grandfather’s love of farming is the reason it became my passion too. As a kid, I would talk to him about sports and school, and he would politely listen, but when I talked about the farm and the tractors, I would see his face instantly light up and smile. When he was diagnosed with cancer, I was on a tractor at eight years old so he could teach me everything he knew. I remember stopping neighbors in their tracks when they’d see a little kid handling such a large piece of machinery.

When I came back from agricultural college in Pennsylvania, I was worried that I would never be able to afford my own farm on the East End. Friends I had gone to school with, or young farmers I knew on the North and South Forks, were extremely worried about the price of land.

That’s where the Trust came in—while I was learning the latest about farming, the Trust was working on something called an enhanced easement. The summer before I returned from college, it gained support from the Southampton Town Board for a new conservation tool that would ensure farming for food production as well as restrict resale only to qualified farmers. The enhanced easement provided a new way to ensure that protected farmland remained affordable to farmers growing food instead of being used for vineyards, riding stables, or expansive meadows in front of expensive homes.

The Peconic Land Trust became the first to use this tool in the State of New York. When it purchased farmland in Water Mill and simultaneously sold an enhanced easement to the town, the Trust resold the farmland to qualified farmers. Being one of those qualified farmers enabled me to purchase my first farm from the Trust! My cost was almost 75 percent less than it would have been if the enhanced rights had not been sold. Without that, I would have never been able to buy my own farmland.

Over the past several years, I’ve watched farmland be lost to housing development, forcing some farmers to leave the area. I am incredibly grateful that I can continue the legacy of my father and grandfather, which is why I don’t take this opportunity for granted. I support the Trust because I want to ensure future generations will be able to farm this land.

Today, I am a proud third-generation Southampton farmer. While my grandfather is now gone, every day I carry with me his passion and respect for farming our land.

I know that the Trust helped make this possible, but I also know that it couldn’t do the work it does without your support and the support of this community. Your gift, at whatever amount, is what makes the Trust able to do what it does.

By making a gift to the Peconic Land Trust, YOU will allow young farmers like me to carry on our agricultural legacy. 

Thank you for considering to support what I love—the land, farming, and locally sourced food. With your help, other young, future farmers will be able to follow their dreams, just like me.

Thank you,

Hank Kraszewski, III

P.S. Come visit me at Hank’s Farm Stand in Southampton—I’d be happy to talk about farming all day!