12/05/17 6:02am

Family and tradition are two things Ed Dart has always valued. The 67-year-old Peconic resident grew up in Southold watching his parents experiment with new ways to make a profit from their farm, which has been in the Dart family for 101 years. They built what he claims was one of the North Fork’s first farm stands in 1945. And his father, Fred Dart, established a retail vegetable route, delivering fresh produce to summer and weekend communities on the North Fork.

Like his parents, Mr. Dart also wanted to think of a new way to help keep the legacy alive.

In 1967, while preparing for his first year at the University of Rhode Island, he pitched his parents the idea of raising Christmas trees on the then 35-acre farm.

Mr. Dart recalled planting the first crop before he left for college and hoping the trees would be ready to sell by the time he graduated. But it wasn’t until 1975 that they sold the trees, he said, and he was shocked that they were a hit.

“Everybody came in, bought all of our trees and there were none left,” he said. (more…)