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Island to Table: 8 Hands takes a philosophical approach to raising livestock on L.I.

Icelandic sheep graze on 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.By Randee Daddona

8 Hands Farm photo of Icelandic sheep by Randee Daddona/northforker.com


Believe it or not, you can find Icelandic sheep right here on Long Island.

An ample flock of heritage breed Icelandic sheep, prized for their fleece, milk and meat, freely roam the pastures of 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, along with prized Tamworth pigs and over 600 heritage breed chickens.

Owners Tom Geppel and his wife, Carol Festa, say they take a philosophical approach to farming and raising animals.

“What we do is based on the principle of raising the animals responsibly,” Festa said. “Animals should live in an environment that is natural to their species, and should eat food that their bodies are meant to process. We are 100% pasture-based because we believe that happier animals mean healthier food.” 

Along with livestock, 8 Hands Farm has a sizeable garden that is maintained organically, without the use of chemical sprays. With the help of their two children, Max and Olivia, the 28-acre farm has grown significantly from its humble beginnings in 2010.

“There’s no one quite like us on Long Island in terms of the scale of the livestock we raise,” Festa said.

Chef Jim Klein of Perabell Food Bar and Chef Hirbin Manzanares of South Ocean Grill will be using fresh eggs and pork from 8 Hands Farm in their dishes during the Island to Table event Sunday, July 31, in Patchogue Village.

“We’re happy to give people the ability to interact with local farmers and ask questions about their food,” said Festa. “That’s something you just can’t do in a supermarket.”


The Island to Table outdoor dining experience in New Village will feature five local chefs cooking with local products. Aside from raising money for sustainability projects, the event seeks to raise awareness about Long Island’s local food sources, from land and water. Greaterpatchogue.com is Island to Table’s official media sponsor. Tickets are $150 each. Click here to purchase.

Click here for more Island to Table coverage.

About the author: Emily Mancini

Emily Mancini is from Smithtown and will be completing her graduate studies at Binghamton University this spring.