Popeye the Sailor Man, a pink tractor, huge sunflowers and a row of teal Radio Flyers may not seem to have much in common, but they all bring customers into Bayview Farm and Market’s main farm stand in Aquebogue, part of Riverhead, Suffolk County.
The stand and farm do have a view of the bay, across the 200-acre farm. No place on the North Fork is too far from the water.
Popeye is off to the side of the stand until spinach season, but the pink tractor, along with a pink truck holding a giant ear of corn are front and center during midsummer. Popeye was ordered for the farm in the early 1990s by Bradford Reeve who was then operating the farm.
The wagons are for the convenience of customers as they shop. And the sunflower crop this year is abundant, according to Katie Reeve, Bradford’s daughter-in-law.
The stand opens for Easter with cut flowers and stays open until Christmas Eve. The Reeves also sell Christmas trees. In the fall, their big crop is pumpkins of many different varieties, including heirloom.
Katie Reeve explained having a roaster selling roasted corn is a great way to bring customers in. They pay at the register, get a ticket and then get a roasted ear they can season with butter, salt and pepper, Cajun spices.
“They eat one and buy a dozen,” she said. Some buy a bushel.
“We sell bushels all summer,” she said, “People plan a barbecue and come here.”
Bayview has been a North Fork fixture for seven generations. The farm’s website says Orrie Reeve would float his horse and wagon across Peconic Bay to sell produce to the hotels in Southampton. George Reeve Sr. sold off the back of his truck and his sons, George Jr. and Bradford, built the first farm stand.
In 2002, Bradford and his wife, Lorraine, built a bigger stand and in 2014, they opened a second location on Sound Avenue in Jamesport. That one is called the Sound Shore Market.
Bradford has since died, but Lorraine still works at the farm which is run by their son Paul and his wife, Katie. Katie also comes from a farming family. “My grandfather grew potatoes,” she said.
Katie said the family tries to improve the stand every year. This year the new feature is pavers in front of the stand. “It makes it easier for people to pull the wagons,” she said.
An earlier change converted what had been a gift shop into a small grocery. “A lot of people don’t want to go to the supermarket when they leave here,” she explained.
The shop is full of local items, including homemade pies, honey, sauces, marinades and jams, sauces and olive oils and fresh pasta. They also sell fresh Long Island Duck.