Cutchogue, NY

8 Hands Farm

Project Type

Conservation, Farms for the Future

Acreage

27.5

Things to do

Visit a Farmstand/Tasting Room

Access

Limited

Address
4735 Cox Ln, Cutchogue, NY 11935

About

Icelandic sheep were the inspiration for a new farmstead when Tom Geppel and Carol Festa acquired over 27 acres -- including a circa 1930s farmhouse and barns -- from the Peconic Land Trust in the fall of 2011 and expanded 8 Hands Farm.

"We are excited about the opportunity to deepen our roots on the North Fork with the purchase of this farm. Our decision to get involved in farming stems from our desire to help preserve the farming culture of the area while increasing awareness of the importance of eating locally grown produce," said Carol back in 2011 when the family bought the farm.

The Protection of Cox Lane Farmstead

The Trust purchased the Cox Lane farmstead that would become 8 Hands Farm, 27.53 acres, from Joe Macari, Sr., in the spring of 2007 -- and simultaneously sold the development rights on 25 acres to the Town of Southold. The Trust released a Request for Proposal for the resale of the land for farming purposes, and worked with Tom and Carol on the transfer of the land for the expansion of their farm. The family had been raising their flock of Icelandic sheep on leased land in the area.

"We plan to build a multi-faceted family-based farm that will supply the local market with high quality products," said Carol at the time of the transfer. "We also believe the farm business will provide our children with many learning experiences and the satisfaction of a productive existence. We re looking forward to our future endeavor on this great piece of property."

And they have! Today, 8 Hands Farm is a thriving family operation. In September 2018, Tom led an inspiring tour of the farm as part of the Trust's Connections programs. Tom led a similar tour in 2014, and was part of our Long Island Grown series of conversations with local farmers, chefs and winemakers in the Winter/Spring of 2015.

The Cox Lane farmstead transfer was one of the earliest projects under our Farms for the Future Initiative. The Trust had acquired the land using funds from our Peter J. Sharp Fund for the Environment, a revolving fund program that provides the Trust with the resources necessary to acquire properties with the eventual plan of reselling to a conservation buyer — a farmer or landowner who will take on the conservation purpose forever.

Today, 8 Hands Farm is home to heritage breed animals including Icelandic sheep, Tamworth pigs and a variety of heritage breed chickens. In a 2015 article in the New York Times, “Livestock Farming is Changing Agriculture on Long Island,” Carol talked about their approach to farming: “We’re trying to step back a little bit in time to an era where the animals graze freely and express their instincts,” said Ms. Festa, speaking of the rotational grazing method of farming used here, in which pastures are divided into smaller areas or paddocks. Livestock are moved from one paddock to another, allowing pastures rest between grazings.

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Visitor Information

8 Hands Farm has a farm store that is open throughout the year. Visit their website or facebook page for information on days and hours. They also offer group tours of the farm. Contact them by email for more details.

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Get Directions

8 Hands Farm

4735 Cox Ln, Cutchogue, NY 11935

Things To Do

Visit a Farmstand/Tasting Room
Visit a Farmstand/Tasting Room

Get Involved

To learn more about the Peconic Land Trust's Farms for the Future Initiative, please contact Dan Heston, Senior Manager of Agricultural Programs.

All ways to get involved