A century-old family-run farm finds new customers during the pandemic

ByKristin Thorne Localish logo
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Century-old family-run farm finds new customers during the pandemic
The Youngs Farm features its own 15 acres as well as greenhouses where they harvest 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and the produce is certified organic.

OLD BROOKVILLE, NY -- A family-run farm on Long Island that has been around for five generations is serving more customers than ever due to its increased customer base during the pandemic.

Youngs Farm in Old Brookville is one of the few remaining working farms in Nassau County.

Tim Dooley, the farm's director, said the farm already had a large group of loyal customers pre-pandemic, but that more people have started shopping there since the pandemic and sales have skyrocketed.

"I think people were home more, less vacation, less dinners out," he said.

Paula Youngs Weir, the farm's owner and Dooley's mother-in-law, said she feels people felt safe at the farm and that's why they started coming there and have continued to patronize the farm.

"I think they liked the feeling of the farm," she said.

Youngs Weir said the shift to curbside pickup was also a big hit with customers.

"We got busier," she said. "Covid busier."

Youngs Farm doesn't just sell food from their farm. They also sell food from about a dozen other farms on Long Island.

The farm on Hegemans Lane has a commercial kitchen where they make soup and bakery goods. They also sell gift items and crafts in the main farmhouse building.

Dooley said they have not had a problem retaining workers during the pandemic and sales were so good last year that they decided to stay open throughout the winter and are doing the same this winter. In years prior, the farm closed for six weeks during the winter.

Dooley said they are looking to add more greenhouse space to meet the high demand for fresh produce in winter.

The farm hasn't been immune, however, to issues caused by the pandemic, like the supply chain issues.

Dooley said they have been waiting for seven months for dark cherries to arrive from a farm in Washington, so they can make their very popular dark cherry pies. He said the cherries usually take eight weeks to arrive.

He also said the farm is paying high prices for everyday items, like for gloves needed for cooking and handling of food.

Dooley said pre-pandemic a case of 1,000 gloves cost $40 per case. At the peak of the pandemic, the cost was $250 per case and now is about $140.