Editorial: Bitter finish to complex local business story

Southold Farm + Cellar

It’s easy to view Southold Farm + Cellar’s demise in the town from which it derives its name with mixed emotions.

Nobody wants to see a business fail, but if you launch one without fully understanding the codes that govern it, the likelihood of success is greatly diminished.

That’s fair.

In reality, there is no right or wrong in the emotional debate about whether or not Southold Town should have granted the winery permission to continue operating its tasting room.

The ZBA made its determination and not much can be done to change that. So let’s put all that aside for a moment and look at this issue through a different lens.

Southold Town is one of the few remaining places on Long Island where it’s realistic to be a local business owner. The town has shunned the type of big-box and fast-food developments that have plagued towns to the west.

Many family-owned businesses exist in Southold today — though not without their challenges — and a great number of them honor our roots as an agricultural community.

That has certainly been the case with Southold Farm + Cellar.

It’s often said that people in this town want their children to find work and homes here and never leave the North Fork. In recent years, one of the few ways this has been accomplished is through a growing number of young entrepreneurs who have taken chances here.

Carey and Regan Meador are good examples of this.

The young couple bought a farm and a house and planned to raise a family while growing a business in the town where Carey grew up. Regan’s experimental winemaking helped their small winery earn a favorable reputation.

The Meadors and Southold Farm + Cellar are exactly what we want here: unique businesses and solid people who somehow strike the balance between what Southold has always been and where it’s headed.

No matter how you feel about the circumstances leading up to the Meadors’ choice to move their family and business elsewhere, we’d like to think everyone can agree it’s an unfortunate outcome.

Southold Town needs more people like Regan and Carey Meador, not fewer.

Photo: The Meadors at their tasting room in 2014. (Credit: Vera Chinese, file)