Orient, NY

Edwards Farm

Project Type

Farms for the Future

Acreage

21

Things to do

Hiking, Nature Study, Biking, Paddling, Sailing

Access

Limited

Address
Orient, NY

About


Through the generous support of over 250 donors and the Town of Southold, this five acre farm field and 15.9 acres of wetland and woodland habitat is preserved for future generations. The Peconic Land Trust is grateful to the community for its support of local food production and natural lands conservation. 


In the summer of 2015, the Peconic Land Trust joined with members of the Orient Community, the Town of Southold, and the Edwards Family to purchase and protect 21 acres of farmland, woodlands, and wetlands that had belonged to the Edward, Latham, and Terry families since the early 19th century.

The property was being sold for $1.09 million. The Town of Southold purchased development restrictions on the property using $700,000 from its Community Preservation Fund, and the Peconic Land Trust purchased the land using its Revolving Fund. This farmland, woodland, and wetlands, and expansive view shed overlooking Little Bay, are now perpetually protected and join a 600-plus acre assemblage of protected land between Narrow River Road and the Cross Sound Ferry Terminal.

The Trust hopes to preserve additional farmland in the area, including the 17.6 acre farm to the east of the Edwards Farm, in order to restore the original 38 acre Latham Family Farm. The Trust’s ownership of the property ensures that it will continue to be farmed by future farmers as part of the Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative, which is working to provide access to protected farmland.

Restoration Project

Superstorm Sandy caused significant damage to the southern area of the farmland when a tide gate was destroyed. The Trust is working to reinstall a traditional tide gate so that we will be able to reintroduce tidal flow to the wetlands. This will help abate mosquitos, diversify and increase the Farm’s habitat areas, and aid in protecting the Farm and the surrounding properties from the effects of sea level rise and large storm events.

Preserving Orient

Thanks to the efforts by New York State, Suffolk County, Southold Town, and private conservation organizations such as the Peconic Land Trust, over 600 acres of valuable farmland, woodlands, wetlands, and coastline are permanently protected in Orient. This impressive assemblage of protected land stretching east from Narrow River Road to the Cross Sound Ferry Terminal, including the Trust’s 9.3-acre Terry Farm Preserve, contributes to the community character of Orient that make it one of Long Island’s most unique hamlets. Protecting the Edwards Farm and the adjacent 17.6-acre farm are logical next steps.

The Edwards Farm Conservation Project is also providing the Orient community with an opportunity to sustain and support its agricultural legacy and heritage. In Orient’s rich and vibrant agricultural history, families such as the Browns, Kings, Lathams, and Terrys, among many others, have farmed for generations. By participating in the Edwards Farm Conservation Project you will be joining a community effort to build on that cherished legacy.

Lastly, this Project is an opportunity to enhance one of Orient’s most critical and spectacular marsh and wetland systems. Marshes are among the most biologically productive and diverse ecosystems on earth, play an important role in filtering out nutrients and improving water quality, and serve as a shield against coastal storms and sea level rise. Unfortunately, human activity has altered Long Island’s marshes and wetlands through tidal flow restrictions, stormwater outfalls, and historic fill, causing their decline. The restoration efforts on the Edwards Farm Preserve will better enable the surrounding wetlands and marsh to function as nature intended.

Visitor Information

Townsend Memorial Overlook

In recognition of the outstanding work that Joseph L. Townsend, Jr., did for the Peconic Land Trust and the East End, the Trust raised funds to create an observation area on the south portion of the Edwards Farm Preserve at Orient Point. This area, which is accessible to the public, overlooks Orient State Park and Little Bay, where Joe logged thousands of training miles as a nationally ranked oarsman.

Joe's contributions to the North Fork included his public service as the Mayor of Greenport, Councilman of Southold Town, member of the Southold Town Planning Board, board member of the Peconic Land Trust and the Oysterponds Historical Society, and President of the Long Island Indian Museum.

Joe was also instrumental in the preservation of Dam Pond/Ruth Oliva Preserve in East Marion, the Edwards Farm in Orient, and the former Exxon/Mobil property, now the Widow's Hole Preserve, in Greenport. He was also a principal protester in the successful effort to make Orient Beach State Park's Long Beach accessible to boaters and hikers.

In 2018, a plaque honoring Mr. Townsend was installed at the head of the trail that leads to the nature observation platform. In 2020, artist David Nyce handcrafted a memorial bench to be placed at the overlook.

Visitor Access Information

When visiting, please park on the right just off the Main Road. You are invited to walk through and observe the farming operation. When exiting at the southern end, you will enter the Townsend Memorial Overlook.

Please take care when visiting the preserve and memorial. Make sure the gates are firmly closed behind you, and be considerate of the farming equipment, produce, and wildlife.

(See the trail kiosk here.)

Get Directions

Edwards Farm

Get Directions

Edwards Farm

Orient, NY

Things To Do

Hiking
Hiking
Nature Study
Nature Study
Biking
Biking
Paddling
Paddling
Sailing
Sailing
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