This time of year, members of the Andrews family start their days at 6 or 6:30 in the morning.
“It’s the big push to harvest until the day before Thanksgiving,” said farmer Justin Andrews, 23, of Andrews Family Farm in Wading River. On this day, he is working alongside his younger brother, Will, 21.
All four Andrews children — Bobby, Justin, Will and Rosemarie — grew up on the 30-acre farm (they lease some 40 acres nearby where they also grow) working alongside their parents, Denise and Bob Andrews Jr., and grandparents, Bob Sr. and Marie.
The elder Andrews, both 81, live in an old farmhouse on the corner of Hulse Landing Road and Sound Avenue. They farmed in Plainview and Melville before moving to the Wading River farm in 1986.
After graduating from college with various degrees in horticulture science, arboriculture, parks and recreation facilities management and liberal arts, they all returned home. Rosemarie, 18, is a freshman at the University of Connecticut studying nutrition sciences. Bobby, 24, is the oldest and works at Farm Credit East in Riverhead, but takes the farm’s veggies to sell at the Port Jefferson Farmer’s Market on Sundays.
Three mornings per week the farmers, Will, Bob Sr. and Bob Jr., divide up the duties and bring their produce to the Bronx Terminal Market. They leave Wading River at 1 a.m. and return around 10 a.m. After working all day on the farm, Will goes to the Hunt’s Point Market two evenings a week, leaving at 6 p.m. and returning around 11 p.m.
This time of year, the fields are abundant with broccoli, red and green cabbage, turnip and mustard greens, kale, Tuscan kale, arugula, dill, cilantro, parsley, beets, radishes and scallions.
“They are going to be real busy up until Thanksgiving. Then we get the Christmas trees next Sunday and we have those to sell along with wreaths, roping and grave blankets,” Denise Andrews said.
Denise likes having her clan around.
“You got to love what you do,” she said. “They like working with their father and grandfather. They get along real well with each other and that’s important. They like the process from the seed to transplant to harvest. I think it’s real nice to see the next generation doing what we did. Following in the footsteps of their father, grandparents and me.”
When asked about downtime, both Justin and Will said it doesn’t exist. Right after the Christmas trees are sold, they drive snowplows, start to clean out the greenhouses and work on the tractors to get them ready for spring plowing and planting.
Then it begins all over again.
See more photos below.
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