Don Allen, 66, says he misses the life of a farmer.
“It was like therapy,” he said. “That was like playtime being out there on my tractor.”
The Yaphank man and owner of Pumpkin Patch Farm Stand with his wife, Pat, grew up on his grandparents’ potato farm, not far from where he eventually bought his own. For nearly 25 years, the Allens grew pumpkins and other vegetables at the farm and sold them at the farm stand -- until he realized the resident deer were getting more of the produce than he was.
They sold the farm about seven years ago, but not the farm stand, which opened for the 2011 season on Sunday at the corner of Long Island Avenue and Sills Road in Yaphank.
Pat Allen doesn’t miss the farm as much as her husband.
“I do a little,” she said. “But it’s easier to get to bed at night and you’re not out there picking till dark.”
The farm stand is a labor of love for both, and the couple said they are happy to be back in business for another season.
After selling the 10-acre farm, the Allens began buying fresh local produce from farms, mainly in Riverhead and Calverton, to sell at the stand. They also sell local flowers, Holy Moses cheesecake, pies, local honey and Don’s specialty, roasted red peppers.
They also take on new products each year to keep their customers guessing, said Pat Allen, 64.
“It’s a surprise,” she said about new products coming this year. “We’ll probably reveal it later this month.”
The Allens -- who have two daughters and five granddaughters that live on the Island -- stay true to their business name by bringing in pumpkins to sell during the Halloween season and keeping a daily countdown to the holiday hanging inside the stand.
The business it not the same as it’s always been, Don Allen said, but he’s happy to still be in it.
“We’ve been here for 31 years,” he said. “It’s grown into something significant for us.”