‘I love connecting with nature. It’s seeing the magic of a single seed grow into a beautiful plant whose fruits will feed our community.’
“My family emigrated from Greece in 1982 and brought the love of animals and earth with them. My dad had 17 goats and a large garden in Ronkonkoma that would eventually become ‘Thera Farms.’ In my early twenties, I expanded the garden into a small farm, opened a farm stand and started attending farmers markets.
“Sadly, we were landlocked in Ronkonkoma, with only 2.6 acres. But I was connected to the Peconic Land Trust and the Sisters of St. Joseph, who leased us land in Brentwood. Now we’re up to 18 acres and have the full support of the community behind us. It’s really a special place. My wife, Heather, was part of the community when I first met her. I was smitten from day one. She was a sister of St. Joseph. She is a beautiful person with a love of people and nature like I’ve never seen. She tried to hide it at first, but seeing me work the land on my tractors eventually won her over, and now we’ve been married five years and have two beautiful daughters.
People come to the farm and connect with how their food is grown.
“Heather manages the Garden Ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph. It’s an educational space for the community at large. There are community garden plots, programs for kids, prayer sessions, goats, chickens, rabbits, honey bees, and they donate what they grow to the community. Selling what we grow right on the farm at our stand helps keep our prices low. We have no transport costs and very little food waste. What doesn’t get sold gets donated to numerous charities, the biggest being Island Harvest. I believe we donated over 4,000 pounds of food in 2021. We also provide a safe place for people to come relax and enjoy nature. People come to the farm and connect with how their food is grown. You can sit in the shade and forget how congested this island is. It’s a hidden gem in the middle of the Island. People that find us tend to keep coming back.
“I love connecting with nature. It’s seeing the magic of a single seed grow into a beautiful plant whose fruits will feed our community. It’s seeing the smile of the people that shop at the stand. It’s hearing those tractors fire up and the symphony of the rocks scraping the plow blade. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Interviewed by Saul Schachter