Southold Town was settled in 1640, making it the oldest town in New York. The small villages, rural atmosphere, and pristine shorelines have fought to keep their New England charm for centuries. Croteaux Vineyards occupies the land of two historic North Fork Farms, each with a long agricultural history. The “Howell Farm” purchased in 1992, and the “Stepnoski Farm” purchased in 1994 were both active farms operating for generations in the same family. The pressure of development/subdivision, a falling real estate market for farmland, aging family members, and a lack of financial viability for farming in the region were to blame for their demise. The primary goal in aquiring the farms was not to plant a vineyard, but rather to restore historical structures preserving a natural resource and way of life that was quickly being lost.
“The Howell Farm” dates back to the 1700’s, and contains a large victorian era farmhouse built in 1888, a carriage barn from the same era, and three additional agricultural structures. The oldest structure on the property is a three-bay, post and beam, “Dutch Colonial” barn of hand hewn oak timbers dating back to the 1750’s. The original house, a colonial cape built in the 1700’s, was moved to an adjacent lot on the North border of the farm in 1988. The Stepnoski Farm also contained an 1850’s farmhouse and barn. All structures have been saved and restored.
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