The Peconic Land Trust is looking for the community’s support in helping them to preserve a 20.9-acre farm owned by generations of Edwards, Terry and Latham farmers in Orient.
Siblings Elbert and Harriet Edwards recently inherited the bayfront farm, which provides one of the most stunning vistas along the south side of the Main Road in Orient, from their mother, Marion Latham Edwards. The farm had been owned and farmed by generations of the Latham and Terry families in Orient since the early 19th Century.
On Aug. 18, Elbert and Harriet Edwards sold the farmland, woodlands and wetlands to the Peconic Land Trust for its appraised value of $1.09 million. Southold Town purchased the development rights for $700,000 through the town’s Farmland Preservation Program, perpetually protecting the property for agricultural production and passive open space use.
The land is on the south side of Main Road in Orient, just west of Latham Sand and Gravel, and to the east of the Land Trust’s Orville Terry Preserve, which was donated to the Trust by Joyce Terry in 1989.
The Peconic Land Trust is leasing the cultivated farmland to Daniel Latham of Latham Farms. The Oysterponds Rod and Gun Club will continue to use the woodlands and wetlands for hunting as part of the Peconic Land Trust’s Wildlife Management Program.
The Edwards have agreed to a three-year installment sale, giving the Land Trust and the community the time and flexibility to raise $450,000 more toward the purchase. The Orient community has already raised $75,000.
“My sister Harriet and I were pleased to work with the Peconic Land Trust to conserve our land,” said Mr. Edwards. “By preserving the land, we are also preserving our family’s agricultural history. This is an outcome we had always hoped for.”
“The protection of this historically significant property would not have been possible without the patience and persistence of the Edwards Family, steadfast commitment to land preservation from the Town of Southold, and financial support from many generous members of the local community,” said Peconic Land Trust Vice President Timothy Caufield. “We look forward to working with the community to protect the rural and agricultural heritage that has always been so much a part of Orient’s special sense of place.”
“This property represents the heart of what the Community Preservation Fund is intended for – to preserve the agricultural and natural resources of our town,” said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell. “The town will continue to work with families, communities and organizations like the Peconic Land Trust to invest in our agricultural land through the CPF for the benefit of the people of our town and future generations.”
Orient resident John Henry has helped raise money for the preservation.
“I am delighted to be helping the trust raise money for a project that is preserving one of the last remaining unprotected farm properties along Main Road in Orient,” he said. “Not only can this preservation help to assure the continued agricultural use of the land, which represents an important part of Orient’s cherished rural character, but potentially limited portions of the property could provide passive open space uses for the benefit of the entire community. Those of us who live on the North Fork are accustomed to seeing bumper stickers exhorting us to ‘Save What’s Left’ in our beloved area. This is a splendid opportunity to do precisely that.”
New York State, Suffolk County, Southold Town and private conservation organizations have preserved more than 1,500 acres of farmland, woodlands,
wetlands, and coastline in Orient. Six hundred of those protected acres are between Narrow River Road and the Cross Sound Ferry terminal.
To find out more about how to get involved with the preservation effort, visit
www.peconiclandtrust.org or call 631.283.3195.