Conserving Long Islands Working Farms and Natural Lands

Hopping Farmland and Pike Farm Stand

Pike Farmstand on Sagg Main

Pike Farmstand Vegetables

Pike Farmstand Sugar Snap Peas

Pike Farmstand Vegetables

Pike Farmstand Vegetables

Pike Farmstand Vegetables

April 2011: Peconic Land Trust Announces the Sale of the Hopping Farmland to Jim and Jennifer Pike.

Peconic Land Trust President John v.H. Halsey announced the sale of 7.6 acres of farmland on Sagg Main Street in Sagaponack to Jim and Jennifer Pike for $167,200. The Trust acquired the property from the Hopping family in March of 2010, and made its final payment for the property in December 2010 through the use of its revolving fund established by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation. The transfer of the property to the Pikes fulfilled the original intent of the acquisition – to identify new techniques that enable productive farmland to be affordable and accessible to farmers over time and to ensure the survival of a thriving agricultural operation in the midst of a village considered to have the highest land values in the United States. To read the full press release on the sale, click here.  

February 2011

The Peconic Land Trust acquired the Hopping property on March 2, 2010 through an installment purchase. The Hopping family graciously agreed to this arrangement as the Trust was unable to raise the full purchase price given the faltering economy and donor fatigue. Nonetheless, with the help of a matching grant from the Northeast Land Trust Consortium of the Pew Charitable Trusts, we brought about $1 million of private money to the closing from literally hundreds of people. With Suffolk County and Southampton Town purchasing the development rights on the property simultaneously, about $5.3 million of the $6 million purchase price was paid on March 2, 2010 as a first installment. Title was conveyed to the Trust at that time. The final installment payment, representing a balance of about $600,000, was to be made no later than March 15, 2011.

Late in 2010, the Trust decided to prepay the final installment by using funds from its revolving fund established by The Peter J. Sharp Foundation. The revolving fund provides the Trust with capital to acquire land on a temporary basis until it can be repaid by other sources. The final payment was made in December of 2010 and enabled the Trust to save $8,000 in interest payments and to fulfill our obligation to the Hopping family. 

Hedges Farm House

Meanwhile, in early 2010, the Trust was given the 1930 4-Square, Prairie-style farmhouse that was originally located on the Barsczeski farm on Hedges Lane and proposed to be demolished. The Village of Sagaponack, including its Architectural and Historic Review Board, supported the protection of this farmhouse originally built for Percy Hedges. It is a structure indicative of Sagaponack's agricultural heritage and rural character (Hedges Lane House).

The farm house has been relocated to a 10-acre property on Hedges Lane (approximately 650 feet from its original location) that is owned by the South Fork Land Foundation. The South Fork Land Foundation is a supporting organization of the Peconic Land Trust. The Trust has applied to the Village of Sagaponack for a subdivision that would provide the house with a separate 1-acre lot. The intention of the Trust is to sell the farm house on its own 1-acre lot subject to a facade easement and other restrictions to ensure that its character is perpetually protected. The remaining 9-acres of farmland will then be protected through a donation of a conservation easement. For more on these developments, read our recent email updates

The proceeds from the sale of the farm house will be used by both organizations to advance other conservation projects in the area. In the case of the Trust, it will use its portion of the proceeds to repay its revolving fund used to complete the Hopping acquisition as well as provide funding that will enable farmers to acquire protected farmland at affordable prices.

December 24, 2009

The Hopping Family extended the closing to March 15, 2010, to give the Trust additional time to raise the balance of the funds (see December 1, 2009 update for additional details). The family has also agreed to accept any outstanding balance at closing in an installment payment within one year, by March 15, 2011. 

In an effort to help close the gap, the Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew), through its Northeast Land Trust Consortium, has agreed to provide a matching grant of $1 for every $5 donated to close the project. Pew will provide a $140,000 match if $700,000 is received by January 15, 2010. Gifts and written pledges already received by the Trust cannot count toward the match.

Click Here see who has pledged thus far and who is a prospect to add to the list! We want to reach everyone who cares about saving the Pike's farm stand and a truly wonderful source of local food! List updated January 13, 2010

December 1, 2009

Good News!!! On December 1, the Suffolk County Legislature approved the purchase of development rights for the Hopping Farmland, home to the Pike Farm Stand.The County and Town have now agreed to provide about $4.3 million of the $6 million necessary for the Trust to purchase the property from the Hopping family -- the Trust is continuing to raise the $1.7 million necessary to complete the purchase. The Trust's contract with the Hopping family to complete the purchase expires on December 31, 2009. 

The approval by the legislature now paves the way for the final fundraising effort by the Trust. To date, about $1 million of the $1.7 milion needed to close has been donated or pledged by nearly 300 members of the community. In an effort to help close the gap, The Pew Charitable Trusts, through its Northeast Land Trust Consortium, has expressed a willingness to provide a matching grant of $1 for every $5 donated to close the project. With the vote on December 1, it is now possible to formalize the Pew Challenge. 

October 2009

At the time of our last update, we were anxiously awaiting a September vote by the Suffolk County Legislature to approve the County's purchase of development rights on the Hopping property, home to the Pike Farm Stand. However, the vote was unexpectedly postponed at a time when all levels of government are experiencing tough economic times. Since then, all parties to this conservation effort have agreed to a lower price for both the development rights and the property as a whole in light of the current recession and in the spirit of completing the protection of this working farm.

For 20 years, Jim and Jennifer Pike have rented these 7.6 acres from the Hopping family. It has been the home of their popular farm stand during that time, providing tens of thousands of customers annually with fresh produce. With over 60 acres in production, the Pikes own just 6 acres. Consequently, they do not control their destiny, a problem increasingly common among farmers that lease more than they own. The Trust ultimately intends to sell the restricted farmland to the Pikes at an affordable price subject to a "preemptive right" held by the Trust. This will assure that future farmers will have an opportunity to purchase the property at agricultural value should it be put on the market again years from now.

The Trust has been in contract with the Hopping family to purchase the property for $8.23 million since April of 2008. The amended purchase price is $6 million of which the County and Town will provide about $4.3 million through a simultaneous purchase of the development rights at closing. In order to close, however, a balance of about $1.7 million plus $200,000 in transaction costs must be raised privately by the Peconic Land Trust. To date, we have received more than 250 donations and pledges of about $950,000. We are halfway towards our goal, but must raise an additional $950,000 by December 31, 2009, when our contract with the Hoppings expires.

From the beginning, the Hopping family has given the Trust generous terms. For example, the contract is contingent upon our ability to sell the development rights to the Town of Southampton and Suffolk County, and to fundraise the remainder of the purchase price from the public at large. Last week, however, we were saddened to learn that Mr. Jim Hopping passed away on Monday, October 12, 2009. Over the past 18 months, Mr. Hopping had quietly supported this conservation effort by extending our contract several times, giving us the time necessary to raise private money and secure funds from the County and the Town. Unfortunately, Mr. Hopping did not live to see its completion. However, his family remains committed to enabling the Trust to protect this special community asset.

County Executive Steve Levy, Legislator Jay Schneiderman, Southampton Town Board members Nancy Graboski and Chris Nuzzi, Sagaponack Village Trustee Lee Foster, as well as other public officials announced their whole-hearted support for this public/private partnership at a press conference held on October 22nd at the Pike's Farm Stand. Clearly, the importance of local produce and regional agriculture has not been lost on the partners involved in this acquisition.

We have never been closer to our goal, but it is now a race to the finish line. If you have not already done so, please make a pledge today to protect the Hopping Property, home of the Pike Farm Stand, and continue the farming legacy that Jim and Jennifer have grown over the years.

Show Suffolk County that you support this important preservation effort. Join the list of 253 donors who have pledged nearly $954,000.

We still need your support! Join the campaign today!

Click Here to see who has pledged thus far and who is a prospect to add to the list! We want to reach everyone who cares about saving the Pike's farm stand and a truly wonderful source of local food! List updated January 13, 2010

April 2009

We have great news to report! Suffolk County has made an offer to purchase the development rights on the Hopping property from the Peconic Land Trust as contract vendee! This offer is contingent upon approval by the Suffolk County Legislature, the availability of funds, and at least a 30% match by the Town.

In the meantime, the Southampton Town Board has recently approved partnering with the County, subject to the County's full approval of the acquisition, the County's participation at 70%, and the availability of Community Preservation Funds.

NEW as of April 21, 2009: As the County offer is predicated on our position as contract vendee, the Hoppings have agreed to extend our contract until December 31, 2009. While our most recent appraisal, completed within the last two months, shows a diminished fair market value for the property, it remains consistent with the contract price. Our initial appraisal from early 2008 indicated a value significantly above the contract price.

As you will recall, our strategy has always been to acquire and protect the Hopping property through a three-way partnership with the County, Southampton Town, and the Trust. This is a giant step toward the realization of our goal, however, we are not out of the woods yet.

While the likelihood of approval by the Suffolk County Legislature is greatly enhanced by Southampton Town's participation in the purchase of development rights, it is by no means assured, especially given the current economy. The funds available for acquisitions are in short supply, so at the appropriate time, we will undoubtedly need your help in encouraging the County Legislature to approve this acquisition.

In the meantime, the Trust is responsible for raising the balance of the funds necessary to close with the Hopping family from the community at large, approximately $1.8 million. To date, over $800,000 of this amount has been pledged and/or donated, leaving the Trust with at least $1 million to raise from those who appreciate Jim and Jennifer Pike as well as the crops that they produce.

We believe that this is achievable and now ask those who have yet to make a pledge, to do so now. Please use the link provided to make a pledge and join the effort to protect the Hopping Property, home of the Pike Farm Stand!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Trust President John v.H. Halsey or Rebecca Chapman, Vice President of Philanthropy. Thanks for your support!

Background
In the Summers of 2007 & 2008, over 3,000 East End residents and visitors signed up to "Save the Farm Stand" operated on Sagg Main in Sagaponack by Jim and Jennifer Pike. In the Fall of 2007, the Peconic Land Trust made an offer to the Hopping family, who own the 7.8-acres of land that is home to the farm stand, and that offer was accepted in the Spring of 2008 and the Trust signed a contract with the Hoppings to purchase the parcel for $8.23 million.

Over the ensuing weeks and months, we will continue to be in touch with you. (If you are interested in re-reading our previous emails on the Hopping/Pike Farm Stand project, click here to access our eNewsletter archive. Join the list today to receive email updates.)