Oak Tree, the last dairy processing plant on Long Island, may soon sprout age-restricted condos where cows once roamed. To be fair, though, the cows haven't grazed that acreage in quite a while.
For years Oak Tree, run by the family that also owned the Dairy Barn chain, has essentially been a factory that pasteurized, homogenized and packaged raw milk, and neighbors complained about the odors from the business. So the end of Oak Tree isn't a signal to mourn the end of dairy farming on Long Island; the industry was never big here anyway. Yet the change does remind us that Long Island's agricultural industries, wine and vegetables and sod and the rest, do need to be protected and enhanced. We won't miss milk processing machines, but we certainly would miss our farms if they disappeared.