The kitchen at The Mama Farm Bed & Breakfast is… big.
“You can’t make a profit on a farm these days unless you have infrastructure,” explained Elettra Wiedemann of the commercial kitchen that would be privy to paying guests, but also for those taking future cooking classes and for creating on-site food products.
Thanks to architect Pietro Cicognani, there’s plenty of counter space and open shelves with bowls, cutlery in baskets, glasses, dinnerware. An eight-burner stove and three refrigerators/freezers, with several downstairs, indicate serious cooking planned. The beautiful burnished wood used on the cabinetry is from South America.
The kitchen opens up to a garage-like space for event dining that overlooks woods.
Wiedemann, a former model and cookbook author, is the daughter of Isabella Rossellini, who purchased the property, a 27-acre wooded parcel in Brookhaven hamlet with 20.8 acres set aside as a conservation easement to the Peconic Land Trust, in January 2012. Once Mama Farm was established in 2013, it evolved with heritage chickens raised for eggs (also turkeys) as well as bees for their honey. The eggs, honey, with organic vegetables raised on three acres by former chef and Early Girl farmer Patty Gentry, are offered through Community Supported Agriculture; other products including cheese, maple syrup and bread, have been added. “The CSA membership has more than doubled in one year,” she said.
P.S.: Guests will get a full breakfast made with the farm’s produce.
The B&B vision had been a goal for a while. “The building was a single-family residence, and we rented it and had friends over,” Wiedemann said. When the owners sold four years ago, the house was purchased along with another nearby.
“It took nine months,” she said of the renovations. “This commercial kitchen is a whole new structure. Mom says, ‘Everyone wants to be in the kitchen.’” Another area got popped up with a bedroom.
“Now we have a way of connecting it physically with the farm,” explained Wiedemann, executive director, who runs the operation. (Rossellini still comes daily when she’s not on a set and has been busy with a plethora of acting projects.)
“It was about creating a more sustainable business and is modeled after Italy’s agriturismo,” she added of the trend that started in Italy in 1965, bringing visitors to a place primarily used for agriculture purposes. In 1973, the official agriturismo farmhouse designation was created so tourists could vacation on farms and learn about farming from their hosts.
“It’s a problem for small farms on Long Island; the question is, How do you remain viable?” Wiedemann pointed out. “When we went to Brookhaven Town about the project, the model of agritourism intrigued them. So maybe this is a way to make this happen.”
The Mama Farm Bed & Breakfast is surrounded by old-growth trees and is next to CEED, the Center for Environmental Education and Discovery. Rossellini’s mission, to make the property a community place, partners with CEED and Bellport High School on programs and offered cinema screenings on the property. Now Wiedemann, who led Friendly Forager sessions with CEED in 2019, has picked up the gauntlet by offering the Timbalooloo music series for kids and families this summer and other events.
Wiedemann’s partner and dad to sons Ronin and newborn Viggo, is actor, singer and songwriter Caleb Lane, who pitches in when improvements are needed.
“He’s the handyman,” she said. “He builds things, fixes things, helps with the farm.”
Each day is admittedly different (Wiedemann has childcare during the week.) “It’s a living, breathing thing,” she said of the farm and now the B & B, which was about to host its first guests. The day could mean CSA pickups on Friday and Saturday, creating bouquets for Good Morning Bellport, pitching in with animal feeding, creating ongoing programs for children and adults, and Thanksgiving packages.
It’s a full schedule, but one that allows moments to pause, look up, see green things, connect with animals, and take a breath.
Like now. Wiedemann stopped on the back patio for a moment. Sounds of rustling leaves and birds singing were in the background. “There are so many sounds on the farm,” she said. “I’d love to create a soundscape project.”
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