Organics Today Farm
169 Washington St. East Islip, NY 631-650-4424
It suits Michael Massino perfectly.
The ex-restaurateur started working this East Islip plot three years ago. "I liked that it was in the town where I live," he said. "I liked that it was in a residential neighborhood. Someone will show up at 5:30 saying, 'I need a head of lettuce for dinner.' I get a kick out of that."
Would it be better to be further East where, you know, all the other farms are? Nope. Massino's customers (who buy seasonal shares and come once a week to pick up their bounty) don't have to travel too far. And he'd have a much tougher time keeping things organic if he were located near other farms, whose pesticides and fertilizers could be carried his way by the wind.
To help grow his 70-odd fruits and vegetables - right now, he's harvesting snow peas, fava beans, spinach, basil, broccoli, broccolini, Swiss chard and a few herbs - he relies on his "right-hand woman," Desiree Fumento, and about 20 volunteers.
He also makes use of nature's own pesticides: The farm is home to millions of ladybugs, who keep the aphids at bay. To keep ladybugs happy, he grows a great deal of cilantro, whose flowers contain a nectar that they love. The ladybugs are much beloved by the farm's sparrows, so Massino puts out a lot of birdseed "to reduce the ladybug death rate." -- Erica Marcus
Pumpkins 75 cents per pound
Also Has Hayride ($3), farmstand, roasted corn ($2) and baked goods. Enter a pumpkin carving contest Oct. 15 — bring your pre-carved pumpkin to be judged.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily until November