30 Years and counting!
The harbes family story
While the Harbes have been farming for 13 generations dating back to origins in Europe, we have been farming the fertile soils of Long Island ‘s Hempstead area since the 1920s and moving to the East end in the ’60s as the Long Island Expressway was through our farm.
It was here on the North Fork in 1978 that a fruitful journey began as two high school sweethearts (Ed & Monica Harbes) married young and started a new life on the family farm in Mattituck. Ed worked with his father, becoming the 12th generation of farmers as he strove to provide for his ever-growing family with the potato and cabbage farming business. Monica devoted her time to homemaking and motherhood, helping on the farm when time permitted (which wasn’t too often since they have eight children).
In 1989, Ed planted a new type of Super Sweet Corn, built a 14′ by 14’ gazebo and started retailing corn and tomatoes with the salesmanship of their ten-year-old son, Jason. They were humble beginnings to be sure, but the public has been kind to them and over the years their business has grown.
One season Ed Harbes happened to grow pumpkins by the farmstand. Even though there was a large wagon of them pre-picked for purchase, customers noticed the pumpkins growing nearby and asked if they could pick their own. Initially, he disliked the idea of allowing people into the field when there was a large supply ready for purchase. After saying no many times, it dawned on him that people not only wanted the product but they also wanted an enjoyable harvest experience for themselves. This realization inspired him to later offer other enjoyable country experiences; such as hayrides, corn mazes, and ready-to-eat roasted sweet corn.
As the years passed, more and more families began to visit for genuine farm experiences and agritainment. The corn mazes became more elaborate with costumed actors adding to the fun. Musical entertainment could be found performing on weekends and holidays. A singer was added to improve the hayride experience by singing songs and offering a guided tour of the Mattituck location. The Barnyard Adventure area was later introduced to create a space where people could have enjoyable interactive farm experiences. Visitors to the Barnyard can enjoy wide open spaces, farm animals, weekend pig races, children’s activities, such as sack races and tug-of-war, general fun and games and, of course, the overall family-friendly atmosphere.
30 years later Harbes has expanded to three locations. Each location is built on the simple premise of offering country fun for everyone. Harbes Farms have created a lasting legacy of memories for countless families and the Harbes Family hopes to continue this tradition for many decades to come.
We are proud to have been the first certified sustainable vineyard on Long Island and continue to use environmentally responsible farming methods.
- We’re committed to protecting agricultural land and preserving our family legacy and heritage as farmers. We use environmentally responsible farming methods in all of our farming practices.
- We use locally sourced compost to enrich and protect the soil quality which minimizes the need for fertilizer.
- We perform crop-rotation and cover cropping which is a method of replenishing the soil’s nutrients and preventing the depletion of the soil’s nutrients.
- We utilize reduced tillage farming practices that preserves soil quality, reduces the need for crop inputs and minimizes water runoff. To date, we have put over 50 acres into conservation easement which ensures that this land will remain undeveloped.
- We work closely with Cornell University’s integrated pest management system to grow fresh and healthy produce with a minimum of inputs.
- Each year we continue to make strides towards greater stewardship of our precious resources. Thank you for the opportunity to share our agricultural heritage with you.