On a recent trip out to Long Island to visit some of our favorite producers, we stopped by Wells Homestead to say hello to our good friend Lyle Wells — an 11th generation family-farmer who’s been growing for FreshDirect since 2005. Lyle kindly obliged us with a quick tour of the farm. Learn more about the rich history of the Homestead and its crops after the jump.
Despite his busy day — and our visit being unannounced — Lyle was clearly pleased to see us as we pulled into the farm. After greeting us with a big smile and a few jokes, Lyle invited us to take a look at the season’s blossoming zinnias, which he assured us were particularly spectacular this year (see above). So we piled into his pickup and off we went.
The Wells family has been farming the same land in Aquebogue, Long Island since 1661. When farmland is passed down through generations like this, it’s not only the property being inherited; it’s a priceless 350-year wisdom of the land that ensures the crops will thrive. It’s no surprise then, that Lyle’s produce is widely regarded as some of the finest in the Northeast. Lyle took over the farm in 1980, and since then he’s grown hundreds of different crops on the land.
We rounded a hedge and the zinnia orchards came into view. Exuberant clusters of brilliant whites, vibrant pinks, bright yellows, dramatic reds, glowing oranges, and ethereal purples stretched off into the horizon. It was a breathtakingly beautiful sight to behold. We hopped out of the truck for a closer look (and of course a smell), and Lyle even let us handpick a bunch to take home.
Next, we visited the sunflower patch. The blooms blazed an electrifying yellow and stood taller than all their admirers. Lyle and his team hand-cut the sunflowers daily, and whenever you order them from FreshDirect you can be sure they’re in your vase within 24 hours of being picked.
Before leaving there was just enough time to admire Lyle’s acclaimed asparagus and sensational selection of squashes: butternut, spaghetti, and acorn. These local beauties make for charming decorative pieces, but are also packed with the sweet flavor of fall for your favorite seasonal recipes.
Check out all of our great locally grown produce from Wells Homestead here.