Agriculture

Four more North Fork farms sold to Stefan Soloviev


Stefan Soloviev, the East Hampton man who has been buying North Fork farmland for the past several years, recently bought three large farm parcels along Route 25 in Jamesport and another 98-acre farm on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow.
In the past year, he has also purchased and is operating Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue and has purchased the former Peconic Bay Winery in Peconic, which he plans to reopen.
But Mr. Soloviev said in a brief interview this week that his spending spree is over.
“I’m not looking to buy anything else, I can tell you that,” he said. “I’ve hit my limit on the North Fork and I’m back out west right now, as I speak, running my business, the important part of my business.”
He said his North Fork holdings are “a fraction of” what he owns in the Midwest.
His company, Crossroads Agriculture, was founded in Topeka, Kan., in 1999 and is one of the biggest agricultural companies in the country.
Mr. Soloviev, who is also involved in development, confirmed that he purchased the Jamesport and Baiting Hollow properties and said he plans to farm them.
“I’m farming. That’s what I do,” he said.
He declined to say what type of farming he planned to do. Earlier this year, he said in an email, “I have no plans of developing my property right now. I now look at these acres no differently than I do my other 150,000 acres of crop land that I operate in the Plains.”
He said as long as profits meet expectations, he won’t develop, but added, “As long as we can grow hemp successfully on Long Island like we do in Colorado, there will be no construction plans as of now.”
Mr. Soloviev declined to say what he will grow on the newly acquired farms.
The three Jamesport properties, all of which have black and blue Soloviev signs in front of them, were owned, according to town records, by the Zaweski family, Albert Schmitt and Sons and a group led by Gordon Bahari. The Schmitt farm is listed as 14 acres and the Zaweski land comprises two properties on Route 25 totaling 21 acres, according to town records.
The 37-acre Bahari property was farmed for many years by the Gabrielsen family, although they did not own it.
According to county Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue), the former owners of that property had been in negotiations to sell its development rights to the county and preserve the parcel as farmland.
However, that deal “fell apart at the last minute,” Mr. Krupski said in August.
The fourth Riverhead property acquired by Mr. Soloviev was owned by Baiting Hollow Meadow LLC and consists of two parcels. One is a 6.7-acre plot with development rights intact and the other is 91.5 acres for which the development rights have been sold.
For many years, that property was owned and farmed by the Wulforst family, according to Mr. Krupski.
Mr. Soloviev bought the former Davis Peach Farm in Wading River in 2016 and currently operates it as Hayden’s Orchard, named after his son. He bought three vineyards along the North Fork the following year.
But he says the Midwest is where his company exists.
“I’m really tired of talking about the North Fork. It’s not my priority,” he said before hanging up. “Long Island is a great place, but I’m done talking about it.”
Mr. Soloviev’s former wife, Stacey, said in an interview in September that she plans to reopen the tasting room at the former Peconic Bay Winery, which has been vacant for several years.
“We want to make our own wines, we want to have a tasting room and keep the land as is — it’s beautiful,” she said.
A profile of Mr. Soloviev published by Bloomberg in September noted that he had “installed his 17-year-old son Christian as the head of a smaller agricultural operation on 1,100 acres on the North Fork — land he said he may eventually use to build homes.”
The profile also said Mr. Soloviev spends the majority of his time working in Manhattan to manage the family real estate business.
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