The farms on Sagg Main have stood the test of time, passing through generations of a single family, turning out premium crops in dozens of varieties that never seem to change – probably, because they don’t need to. The men and women who labor on these fields know every square inch of their turf, and they’ve been delighting their customers for decades by keeping things pretty-much the way they’ve always been. As you make your way south toward the beach, you’ll notice the gathering areas alongside the stands or outside the two food shops. Customers here tend to be regulars, whether they’ve traveled twenty-five miles to savor the tomatoes and a few ears of corn or arrived by bike or by foot. They know one another, like in a close-knit neighborhood where familiarity breeds personal connection. Most of the shoppers seem up for a chat while they examine the corn husks, pick-over the green beans and lettuces and ponder over the peaches and potatoes, guessing which ones might be the juiciest or make for the sweetest peach pie or produce the loudest “yums” from the dinner guests over the potato salad.
As you turn off 27 and head south toward the beach, immediately on the right is the iconic gourmet food boutique, LOAVES AND FISHES FOODSTORE. Loaves and Fishes has been making and selling high quality prepared foods for over thirty years. You’ll want to make a meal of their incredible soups, from the cold summer beet borscht and tomato gazpacho to the chicken soup, which is a go-to for locals in winter. Don’t miss out on the lobster salad, which is famous in these parts, if for no other reason, its price: about $100 per pound. While savoring this delectable, keep in mind that you only live once!
On the same side of the road, a little further down, is PIKE FARMS. A large family-run farm stand famous—and beloved—for their sweet corn. You’ll see the sixty-five acres of Pike fields just behind the farm stand, twenty of which are reserved just for the corn. Pike’s customers are the most loyal you’ll find anywhere—they talk and dream about his corn all year long and will debate the subject for hours if they find themselves challenged by another Hamptonite who doesn’t see it their way. The shoppers here see themselves as experts in picking the absolute best ears from the morning’s harvest.
On this July Saturday morning, I found myself next to a gentleman digging deep into dusty burlap sacks filled with corn. I couldn’t help being amused by the spectacle because the table we were standing at was overflowing with ears that had also just been picked from the fields. I had to inquire, and he explained that he was feeling for the ears where the filaments at the top were still wet, ‘those are the freshest ones, the last picked”. Who was I to argue? So I proceeded to rummage with him, knowing in the chance that he did know best, and certainly more than I did.
Across Sag Main, close to Parsonage Lane, you’ll hit CROWLEY’S, another farm stand, this one brimming with bright colors from their fresh-cut flowers. The flowers are grown on the parcel of land just behind the farm stand that borders Parsonage Lane. They also have a refrigerator with great 3-Day Pickles. The cukes are fresh and crunchy, light and, trust me, addicting.
Continuing down the road, back on the west side of the street, you come to PIERRE’S Market. This was the old Sagaponack General Store. It always has felt like the social center of Sagg Main, and Pierre kept the essence of this little gathering spot alive. With benches in front and a small post office branch on the side, the mood is small town in the sweetest way. This outpost is an offshoot of Pierre’s Restaurant in Bridgehampton, bringing fresh French pastries and bread as well as an extensive prepared foods section to Sagg Main. The sumptuous flourless chocolate cake accompanied by a cold ice coffee is the perfect late afternoon après beach reprieve.
Keep heading south toward the beach, and on the right you’ll come to MARILEE’S FARM STAND. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this, where, on off-hours or in the fall, customers bag their own produce and drop their bills through the slot of the little wooden box she leaves on the farm table. Marilee’s fans affectionately refer to her as the tomato lady. Her many varieties of organic tomatoes are known for being out of this world…many would say the best in the world! The day I stopped by she only had some of her greenhouse tomatoes since it was about a week too early in the season for field tomatoes, but these were excellent specimens, juicy and sweet, with that perfect tomato taste I had almost forgotten about over the winter and spring. You’ll be utterly fascinated by the shapes and colors of the legumes and vegetables at Merilee’s, varieties you’ve never seen before. Since you won’t be able to buy everything (you’ll be tempted though!), bring your camera! And if you can remember, ask for some of her fresh eggs.
Past the cemetery and all the way at the end of the road is Sagg Main Beach. If you’ve skipped the farm stands and passed on the decadent lobster salad, you’ll be greeted in the beach parking lot by a food truck, HAMPTONS FOODIE, which draws the beach crowds all day long for breakfast, lunch and snacks. The sesame noodles are hugely popular, as are the chicken fingers and quesadillas for the kids. And when you arrive back to your towel and sit back, eating with your feet in the sand, you have pretty much the best view for dining you could ask for in the Hamptons.