To Market to Market From a Family Farm

A fungi business mushrooms into home-grown produce, takeout, and Thanksgiving turkeys
David Falkowski sells the remarkable mushrooms he grows at South Fork farm stands. Now, he has one of his own, and it is stuffed with familiar and unusual produce, prepared foods, and family photos.

As the South Fork is enveloped in autumn’s abundant colors, a recently opened farm stand is offering the fruits of long labor in Bridgehampton’s fertile fields. 

Open Minded Organics, a company known for the certified organic mushrooms it has sold at South Fork farmers markets for some time, opened its own farm stand on Butter Lane in July and now offers not only mushrooms, but hundreds of varieties of vegetables and herbs as well as prepared foods. 

For David Falkowski and his wife, Ashley Falkowski, the farm stand, on several acres of land owned by Mr. Falkowski’s father, is home base.

“We’ve diversified and have well over 200 — closing on 300 — varieties of vegetables, herbs, and such,” he said. Inside the stand, the bright colors of the earth’s bounty overflow baskets and shelves, while the kitchen turns out soups, stews, and sauces, including unusual pestos, made from the farm’s own produce. On a golden late-summer day, Ms. Falkowski baked apple pies while Mr. Falkowski roasted peppers outside. 

A Bridgehampton native, Mr. Falkowski has surrounded himself with “the story of the area where I grew up,” including family photographs and a geological survey map from long ago. (Be sure to find the photo just inside the farm stand’s front door, which shows his grandmother, her sister, and a boy, also a relative, picking potatoes. The boy is the former Boston Red Sox slugger Carl Yastrzemski.)

David’s father is John Falkowski, who once farmed the land but now has a 70-acre spread in Cobleskill, N.Y. Open Minded Organics sells beef that is grass-fed there, as well as free-range poultry, including turkeys, which it will start taking orders for soon. Mr. Falkowski said he sometimes sends a crate of produce to Cobleskill for his father’s guinea hens. 

“As a smaller farm, I need to be precise about what we’re growing,” Mr. Falkowski said, “things that are higher yielding or higher quality. I don’t grow russet potatoes because I don’t really enjoy them and they take up a lot of space and sell really cheap.” Instead, you will find the Peruvian purple potato or the Red Thumb fingerling at the stand. 

For more exotic offerings, you can contemplate the peppers. Thai chili peppers are grown from seeds brought home from Thailand, where Mr. Falkowski proposed to his then-girlfriend. While on their honeymoon in Jamaica, he gathered the seeds for Open Minded Organics’ chocolate habanero and scotch bonnet peppers. “So you could say my wife and I have a pretty spicy love life,” he said. 

In another nod to romance, some of the peppers on display bear an uncanny resemblance to other flora. “Through the years,” Mr. Falkowski said, “I’ve been selecting these for floral shapes, so they almost look like a bouquet of flowers.” 

In these latter days of the growing season, Open Minded Organics will focus on prepared foods, Mr. Falkowski said, musing about concocting a jerk-barbecue sauce from tomatoes and some of the many varieties of peppers. Creative offerings, he said, were impossible when he was a vendor at farmers markets but lacked a farm stand. “There’s been a challenge to shoehorn all this, so to speak, into a small tent, set it up, vend for four hours, and break it down. Having this stand has really allowed us to expand on a lot of things.”

“That was important to me, to be able to take these foods and turn them into other, really great things,” Mr. Fal­kowski said. “Now I have refrigeration, a place to carefully store things, and air-conditioning so the sun is not beating on us. It’s allowing us to do a lot more.” 

Describing his concentration on  mushrooms, Mr. Falkowski explained that it  began when he was in his 20s. “I did my ‘walkabout,’ and wound up taking a design course in permaculture, which piqued my interest in design, specialty crops, and the interconnectedness of different systems.” 

Soon after, he discovered Paul Stamets, the mycologist and founder of Fungi Perfecti who has written books such as “Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World” and “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms.” These, Mr. Falkowski said, “have become standards of reference for many cultivators around the world.” 

After attending the first of several seminars with Mr. Stamets, “I built my laboratory in my attic, began my spawn work, and that spring had my first crop of blue oysters. That was the birth of getting into growing food.” Cultivation now happens in a grow house behind the farm stand. 

Mr. Falkowski grows yellow oyster, shitake, blue oyster, and, most recently, maitake mushrooms, he uses the latter in a tincture. “We’re trialing it now,” he said. “It’s known to be a very healthful mushroom: it has antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-stimulating properties.” 

Open Minded Organics is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 6 on Friday and Saturday. “We’d like to make it through Thanksgiving,” Mr. Falkowski said.

Mr. Falkowski grows yellow oyster, shitake, blue oyster, and, most recently, maitake mushrooms.Durell Godfrey
You will find the Peruvian purple potato at the stand. Durell Godfrey
Squashes are perched on a chair near the farm stand ceiling.Durell Godfrey
Tomatoes in different-colored coats come from the family farm,Durell Godfrey
For more exotic offerings, you can contemplate the peppers. Thai chili peppers are grown from seeds brought home from Thailand.Durell Godfrey
On a golden late-summer day, Ms. Falkowski baked apple pies while Mr. Falkowski roasted peppers outside. Durell Godfrey
Durell Godfrey
Durell Godfrey
Durell Godfrey