The Country Garden farm stand on Scuttlehole and Millstone roads in Bridgehampton has been a local hot spot for fresh fruit and vegetables on the East End for decades. From Memorial Day to Thanksgiving, customers would line up to load up on corn, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, cauliflower, melons, and more. Now, the loyal group of followers will need to find someplace else to shop after owner Tom Falkowski decided to close his doors after 50 years.
“He did everything he wanted to accomplish,” his wife of over 40 years, Jackie Falkowski, said. “He’s an excellent farmer, always proud of his product. He learned a lot of things from scratch, and his customers were always grateful.”
Falkowski could be seen spending 10 to 12-hour days, sometimes longer, working in the fields. For years he’s been tapering off, but he’s not done yet. He was busy bailing straw and tending to the hay crop this week, his wife said.
“It wasn’t easy,” Falkowski said of her husband’s demanding schedule, adding that for her, it was also an adjustment.
A city girl from Brooklyn, the surgical nurse said farm life took some time getting used to.
“It was foreign from the beginning, but after 40 years, you get used to it,” Falkowski said, laughing. “You grow to love it. We had a big following. It was always busy.”
The farmer found time to tend to his crops while raising four daughters, including Susan Parry, who used to farm alongside her father until she gave birth to a set of twins. Falkowski said this, plus the difficulty of finding help — not in the fields, but at the farm stand — made it difficult to keep the doors open each season. She said her husband also had two knee replacements, so the timing seemed right. He declined to be
interviewed for this article.
“He did everything he wanted to do, and he’s happy in the end,” Falkowski said. “He’s a very intelligent and focused guy. He wanted to accomplish whatever he set his mind to and do it to the best of his ability. He never let anything slide. He’s just really dedicated. He figured he accomplished his goals, and a lot of people don’t get to do that.”