FreshDirect Sourced: Wells Homestead Acres

Out on Long Island’s North Fork, Wells Homestead Acres holds the title of being the oldest farm in the famously bountiful area. Since 1661, the Wells family has grown a variety of crops on these lands, maintaining a mighty presence in the local agricultural community generation after generation. “We don’t really know any other way,” current owner Matthew Wells explains. “It’s just become part of everything, part of our souls.” 

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FreshDirect’s relationship with Wells Homestead began years ago, when we found a natural partner in Matthew’s father, family patriarch Lyle Wells. Lyle shared our values of emphasizing local, direct relationships between farmer and customer, understanding that food just tastes better when its freshly-sourced. That connection has endured under Matthew’s leadership, who has continued building upon the Wells’s legacy. 

Matthew Wells on his farm

The ability to enjoy just-picked produce grown on local Long Island turf is made all the more precious by the fact that the East End’s agrarian landscape has been shrinking steadily over the last few decades. The are was once dominated by farms, but new development and building has increasingly taken over while climate change has created additional challenges for growers. Lyle Wells was one of the most vocal proponents of farmland preservation in Suffolk County, and Matthew has carried on this commitment to protecting the land. “We get contacted on a regular basis to sell this farm,” he explains. “And there’s no chance of it ever happening.” In 2020, the county acted to preserve Wells Homestead Acres as farmland, ensuring it will continue operating just as it has for years to come. 

Wells produce is a perfect reminder of the extreme seasonality of real, freshly-grown vegetables. The farm’s renowned asparagus appears for a few brief weeks on FreshDirect in the spring, their sunflowers are a cheerful beacon for the last days of summer, and various pumpkins and squashes arrive just in time for fall baking and decorating. With such short windows to enjoy each of these special items, the speed at which we’re able to take items directly from the field to your door becomes even more significant. When you enjoy this just-harvested produce, you’re experiencing it at the peak moment, when there’s a vibrancy and freshness that most grocery stores simply can’t offer. 

Our partnership with Wells Homestead Acres is driven by a mission to share food at its very best, which goes hand in hand with supporting local, small-scale farms and food businesses that are dedicated to their craft. And for the farm, it represents an opportunity to reach a wider audience without compromising on quality. In Matthew’s words: “It’s one of the best consumer to farmer relationships that we have, because it’s getting there so quick. There’s a middleman, but it’s almost like it doesn’t exist.” 

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