It seems like on both of the Forks there is a farmstand on every corner – it can be confusing as to where to find what produce. But with a little research, the bountiful farmland can be navigated. One farmstand in particular is known for its stone fruits—Davis Peach Farm, right off of Sound Avenue in Wading River.
Obviously Davis has peaches, but they grow much more. The farm also produces plums, nectarines, apples and cherries. In addition, there are hybrids of each stone fruit, such as plumcots, a cross between a plum and an apricot, as well as pluots, a cross between a plumcot and plum, and apriums, an apricot and plum hybrid. Some of these varieties aren’t easy to sustain, due to the Long Island soil and weather. Owner Dave Davis strives to grow the best, juiciest fruits possible.
Davis is no amateur when it comes to farming; he’s been doing it since he was a boy on his father’s, Archer Davis’, peach farm, which was in Mount Sinai. Dave took over the farm, while still in high school, after his father passed away. The trees flourished and the small stand set up in front of the Davis’ house brought in plenty of business. In 1988, Dave sold the family farm and found land in Wading River that used to be a potato farm. Dave planted peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, and cherry trees.
The first crop year for the farm was 1990. The crop was not that large, but Davis made his presence known as a good farmer. In 1991, the crop was bigger, but a hurricane took most of it out. Nonetheless, business has grown substantially since then due to “Pick You Own,” which Davis wasn’t a fan of early on. He also did some tweaking as far as how many of each tree to plant according to the fruits’ season. This year, the newest craze on the farm are donut peaches. These peaches are somewhat flattened with a hole in the center, hence the name.
It was interesting to me to learn more about this farm because I have fond memories of going out into the orchard to pick fruit with my mother and grandmother as a little girl. To be able to revisit those memories as I went back to Davis Peach Farm now as a 22-year-old is fun; and both times I was probably improperly dressed. FYI: wear closed shoes, otherwise your feet will get very dirty! With that said, harvesting fruit is not the cleanest job, so be prepared to sweat, if it is hot and…you’ll get a little dusty.
On the day I went with my aunt, it was about 80 degrees and sunny. We pulled into the small dirt lot and walked up to the stand, which was filled not only with fresh peaches, blueberries, and raspberries, but homemade jam, salsa and preserved peaches. One of the friendly employees gave each of us a plastic bag and we were sent on our way to pick fruit. We had to walk a while to get to the trees with pick-able fruit, but it was worth it once we saw the abundance of beautiful peaches and cherries. I decided to pick the white and regular peaches and my aunt picked the cherries, probably because they were easier to get to and those areas had more shade. After I began to sweat profusely and my white sandals were filled with dirt, I was finished picking. We strolled back up to the stand to pay for our goodies and went on our way in the air-conditioned car.
As much as I like being outside, I will never be a farmer, but I find picking fruit sort of therapeutic. It is something that anyone can do and it takes away from the monotony of going to the beach everyday. Also, when you pick your own fruit, it is cheaper because you’re the one doing the labor; just one of the many great reasons to venture out to Davis Peach Farm and reconnect with nature.
Davis Peach Farm 561 Hulse Landing Road Wading River. 631-929-1115, www.davispeachfarm.com.