Growing out of homespun tradition with an organic twist

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As a way to increase their staff, Schaefer and Corcoran host work parties and farm tours every Saturday so that volunteers can learn how to plant and grow produce in their own backyards. Schaefer and Corcoran also welcome educational groups, including Girl Scouts and even botany professors from Adelphi University, instructing them in organic and biodynamic farming, beekeeping and pollination and plant lifecycles.

When tilling the fields, Schaefer and Corcoran utilize biointensive farming practices — planting seeds close together on raised beds and leaving the area fallow with compost — to produce organic lettuce, strawberries, squash, kale and sweet corn, the biggest seller at their farm stand this month.

Aside from offering homegrown produce to customers — which account for about a quarter of their sales at the farm stand — Schaefer and Corcoran sell food items from farms on eastern Long Island, including fruits and berries, organic baked goods, trail mixes, organic honey and fruit spreads — courtesy of Rustic Root, an organic produce distributor. Last year, Crossroads welcomed about 800 customers to the farm stand in its busiest year since it opened.

“It’s pretty cool to see the whole landscape change,” said Rustic Root co-founder Jeff Moore, who noticed a greater demand for organic food deliveries due to a widespread interest in its health benefits. “It’s almost like a food revolution.”

When it comes to funding their farming operation, Schaefer and Corcoran mostly depend on proceeds from fundraisers and the farm stand. They are also currently working to form partnerships with several not-for-profit groups, such as Long Island Cares, to attract more financial backing, and more produce.

Last month, Crossroads teamed with Reverb — a grass-roots organization that facilitates educational, eco-friendly practices for musical acts on tour, along with their fans — to promote its green mission at a Dave Matthews Band concert outside the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, and sold $5 seed packets and other merchandise to raise over $3,500, which Schaefer and Corcoran said will go toward growing produce to be purchased by Island Harvest.

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