THE TALE OF THE HARBES LINEAGE
The Harbes lineage boasts a rich farming tradition stretching across 13 generations, rooted in the soils of Western Europe. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that they began to till the fertile earth of Long Island. Initially settling in Hempstead, their farming venture encountered a detour when the Long Island Expressway carved its way through their land in the 1960s. This prompted a shift to the pastoral ambiance of Long Island’s North Fork, specifically Mattituck, marking a new chapter in their agricultural endeavor.
In the serene North Fork, 1978 became a memorable year as high school sweethearts, Ed and Monica Harbes, embarked on a shared lifetime adventure post-marriage, nurturing their love on the familial expanse in Mattituck. The tale saw Ed, under his father’s tutelage, embrace the essence of a 12th-generation farmer, dedicated to ensuring a prosperous livelihood through potato and cabbage cultivation. Meanwhile, Monica, with a growing brood of eight, gracefully balanced motherhood, homemaking, and occasional farm assistance.
The narrative took a sweet turn in 1989 when Ed introduced a new strain of Super Sweet Corn to their fields. Accompanied by a modest 14′ by 14′ gazebo, Ed and his young son, Jason, commenced retailing corn and tomatoes. It was a modest inception, yet the community’s warmth fueled the growth of their venture over time.
An incidental venture into pumpkin cultivation by Ed led to an unexpected but delightful discovery. Despite a ready stash for sale, visitors were drawn to the live pumpkin patch, expressing a desire for a hands-on harvest experience. Although hesitant initially, Ed soon realized the allure of an authentic harvest journey for the visitors. This insight paved the way for an array of rustic delights like hayrides, corn mazes, and sizzling roasted sweet corn.
As time unfurled, the Harbes Farm morphed into a haven for agritainment, welcoming families eager for authentic farm adventures. The humble corn mazes evolved, adorned by costumed entertainers, while melodies filled the air during weekends and special days. The hayrides too, received a melodic touch, and the Mattituck estate saw the addition of the Barnyard Adventure – a realm of interactive farm engagements. Amidst the verdant expanses, playful pig races, and jovial activities, the Barnyard became a locus of cherished memories.
Over three decades, the Harbes’ humble farmstead blossomed into three distinct locations, each echoing the ethos of rustic amusement for all. The Harbes Farms have become a vessel of treasured memories for numerous families, a tradition the Harbes lineage aspires to nurture for generations to come.
The Harbes are ardent advocates of sustainable agriculture, striving to safeguard the agrarian legacy while nurturing the land they hold dear. They employ eco-conscious farming techniques, enriching the soil with locally procured compost, minimizing fertilizer use. The practice of crop rotation and cover cropping helps rejuvenate soil nutrients, averting nutrient depletion. Reduced tillage practices are embraced to maintain soil integrity, lessen crop input necessities, and curtail water runoff. A notable achievement is the conservation easement of over 50 acres, ensuring the land remains unmarred by development. In collaboration with Cornell University’s integrated pest management system, the Harbes strive for healthy produce cultivation with minimal inputs, each year marking a step closer to heightened stewardship of the invaluable agricultural resources. They extend heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to share their farming legacy with the community.
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