It’s hard to believe that seventy-five years ago, Huntington was covered in farms. Now they are few and far between. One remaining Huntington farm oasis has been preserved by the Foglias in South Huntington. Not far from Jericho Turnpike up on Foxhurst Road is a small green wooden sign that points the way up a dirt and gravel driveway to Fox Hollow Farm. Larry Foglia’s father was a professor at Queens College and his mother was in the computer programming business but they also had 2 acres in Nassau devoted to growing flowers for the market on 28th Street in Manhattan. In the 50’s it suddenly became cheaper for the vendors in New York City to buy their flowers from Africa and South America, which put an end to the Foglia flower farm. The Foglias purchased an old horse farm in Suffolk County and began tilling the land here in Huntington. Working with the soil was in his blood and Larry and his wife Heather bought adjoining acres, built their home and began working selling day lilies. They expanded to hostas and shrubs and trees, making a respected name for themselves. They never advertised or put up a big sign for people to shop, if you hadn’t heard about it through word of mouth then you weren’t up on one of the friendliest nurseries around. Though the farm is no longer a wholesale nursery, Heather and Larry continue to strive to maintain a working farm.
Heather and Larry have two children who grew up learning how to work alongside their parents and grandparents, growing fruits and vegetables, plants and trees. If grandpa needed a red pepper for the stew, 3-year-old Lucas knew where in the big garden to find one. If Laurel wanted some strawberries, she would toddle out of the house only to be found moments later plunked down with pink strawberry juice dripping down her chin.
Intuitively we know that spending time in nature makes us better people all around and Larry and Heather are some of the most hospitable folks you are going to come across. After the tragedy of 9/11 many found their way to Foxhollow farm to just walk and find some peace with nature and neighbors. The Foglia children opted not to have a TV growing up because they knew that life was so much more fascinating when you lived it. Instead of “Who’s the Boss” they watched Barn Swallows return from their winters in South Africa every year, raise their tiny babies and build new nests in their barn. Having a father who is a farmer with a degree in archaeology and a mother who is a renowned storyteller, the kids had exposure to physical, cerebral and introspective lifestyles. They went on to attend Ivy League colleges and then to pursue careers that bring together both of their parents’ personalities. Laurel is a poet and Lucas is a photographer of people and their relationship to their natural surroundings.
About four years ago, Heather saw a sign at the Martin Viette nursery that said ”plant a row for the hungry”, not one to think small, Heather decided that she would like to plant a field for a local food bank. They now grow big crunchy green beans and donate them to Long Island Cares(LIC). They get several pickings out of the plants and enlist volunteers for the picking from LIC as well as anyone who wants to stop by to help . Last week’s crop yielded 190 lbs of fresh beans sent directly to feed local families. This week there were about 12 volunteers and it only took 2 hours to get all of the beans. The third pick will be next Tuesday from 8:30 until 10:30 am for anyone who wants to show up and lend a hand.
The Foglias volunteer a lot of effort and time to improve and encourage a quality of life that preserves Long Island’s precious natural resources. In addition to Larry’s work with the Peconic Land Trust and the Nassau Land trust, they donate portions of their own land to be cultivated by an aspiring farmer who grows vegetables for her very own Community Supported Agriculture plot, they gave their neighbors’ children a garden and guide them in the process and they are some of the founding members of the recently formed Long Island Community Agriculture Network ( LI-CAN). LI-CAN is a not for profit whose goals are to promote sustainable agriculture through educating adults and children about growing their own fruits, vegetables and flowers. As Heather said, “We may not be rich by other people’s standards but I always felt that we were.”
Fox Hollow Farm is located at 43 Foxhurst Road Huntington. Click here for website
If you would like to volunteer with LI-Can call 631-223-8179.