Southold farm stand, facing possible code violations, closes after one weekend

A “curiosity shop” style farm stand along Main Bayview Road in Southold lasted just one weekend before running into code enforcement issues with Southold Town.

Jess Dunne, a local chef and co-founder of North Fork Roasting Co., had partnered with family to open North Fork Provisions on property owned by Dart’s Tree Farm May 21 — offering organic produce, fresh cut flowers, cheese, oysters, escargot as well as prepared meals and pastries for visitors looking to pick up items as they head out for the weekend and locals hoping to avoid a trip into town.

“Thank you for a great first and last weekend at North Fork Provisions,” Ms. Dunne wrote in a Facebook post documenting her recent struggles, which include several visits from town code enforcement officers.

At issue is whether their offerings violate town code, which requires at least 60% of products for sale at farm stands must be grown by the farm stand operator within Southold Town. The remaining 40% may consist of agricultural products grown elsewhere in town, items manufactured or processed from agricultural products within Southold, clothing and apparel that promote the specific farm stand, souvenirs and other accessory items that include decorative housewares and planters, the code states.

In an online post, Ms. Dunne said she planted crops on the property in an attempt to meet the code and accused town officials of hindering her business from thriving.

“My biggest goal has always been supporting my town I grew up in and using as much local produce, goods as I can,” she wrote.

In a subsequent post, she said that they’ve ended the lease with Dart’s Tree Farm, which she described as a “huge bummer.”

Reached by phone Friday, Ms. Dunne declined further comment.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell also declined to comment, deferring to town attorney Bill Duffy.

“We have an open, ongoing investigation based on complaints we have received,” Mr. Duffy said Friday, but noted that code enforcement did not issue any violations. He also denied allegations that the town shut the farm stand down.

Mr. Duffy said the town received complaints after recent news articles were published on the stand’s opening.

“Then we received additional complaints after they opened stating they were selling goods that were not permitted to be sold at a farm stand,” Mr. Duffy said.

Last summer, Nicole Fasolino operated the Morning Sun Shop out of the same stand, offering produce from Treiber Farms, butter, milk and cheese from Goodale Farms in Riverhead, jams, locally-sourced sea salt, mushrooms as well as hummus, pies and bread made by locals.

Asked whether that operation faced similar action from code enforcement officials last year, Mr. Duffy said the town did not receive any complaints about the farm stand last year.

Announcing that the stand would be closing on Facebook, Ms. Dunne said she was “more than OK” with spending the summer home with her young daughter. 

“What I’m not ok with is the uneven enforcement and I am glad in that aspect to be an advocate and help others realize how corrupt it is,” she wrote.