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Nicole Fasolino at her farm stand, Morning Sun Shop, in Southhold (credit: Felicia LaLomia)

Nicole Fasolino never thought she would be running a farm stand in the middle of Southold. But when the coronavirus made its way through New York City, she took her family to their second home to ride out the storm. It was there that she continually spotted the little farm stand for lease across from Dart’s Tree Farm on Main Bayview Road.

“I never had any intention of opening a farm stand,” she said. “I have no history of this kind of work. But I saw it, and said ‘It’s time to show my kids that you can do something even in the darkest time.’”

Last month, she opened Morning Sun Shop right in that spot she had driven by so many times. 

“It was this beautiful little, I don’t want to call it a shack, but essentially, it’s a shack,” she said. And the name is a fitting metaphor for the times.

“It was born out of a dark time,” Fasolino said. “It just felt like a place of light and a place of hope. I always told my children that the sun will always rise. Even on the darkest day, you always have tomorrow.”

Since opening over a month ago, Fasolino has turned her farm stand into a hodge podge of products made by North Forkers. She has jams from About Food, produce from Treiber Farms, butter, milk and cheese from Goodale Farms, salt from North Fork Sea Salt, mushrooms from as well as hummus, pies, bread, coffee, teas, elderberry syrup and ciders made by other locals.

“I was talking to everyone in the community,” she said. “I went to different people who had restaurants and hotels and little shops that I’ve been going to since I got a place here and said ‘How are you doing, and how can I help you? If I can open up, and you can’t, what can I do here?’”

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Supporting local farmers and businesses in a way that in turn supports the community has become an integral part of Fasolino’s business. And as many restaurants and retailers are allowed to open back up with restrictions, she hopes to continue the farmstand and her support for those within the community.

“Everyone has just been so welcoming,” she said. “People come in and talk and express their happiness for having me here. It’s been just non-stop greatness — not even goodness — it’s been greatness.”

Along the way, Fasolino met fellow North Forkers who shared her sentiment about the community and eating local.  

“They care so much about the environment, feeding people the right food and keeping this community afloat,” she said. “That was really my mission — to support the community that has given so much to me and my family since day one here.”

For the freelance fashion stylist, going back to her New York City-based work is on hold for the time being. 

“I definitely am not abandoning this any time soon” she said. “This is definitely the greatest life lesson I’ve had, so I’m trying to figure out in what capacity I can continue.”

Morning Sun Shop is located at 2355 Main Bayview, Southold and is open seven days a week from about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., hours Fasolino hopes to expand once her children are done with school.