SOUTH HAVEN, NY (CBSNew York) – Agriculture has become a cultural passion for an 88 year old man from Long Island.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported on Monday, he’s a living example of Long Island farming history.
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“It’s amazing what he has accomplished,” said Nancy Bush, whose husband is a history collector.
Agriculture is in Ron Bush’s genes.
A hundred years ago his grandfather in Holtsville, followed by an uncle in East Hampton, owned dairy farms with hundreds of cows producing thousands of gallons of milk per day.
Ron started doing farm chores.
“I started when I was about three years old,” he says.
Since his studies at Cornell, Ron has collected and assembled historic farm equipment.
The South Haven family farm is now a collectors’ paradise of 6,000 items, with an outbuilding dating from 1860.
Their daughter Meghan is a 4th generation farmer. She runs the greenhouse.
There are two barns from 1920 and a dairy.
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“They stored the milk here while they cooled it,” Ron said.
Its iconic collection is a tribute to inventors.
“It brings you back because there are so many artifacts,” Nancy said.
“This is when people had to put their ingenuity into what was needed to make life work,” Meghan said.
Dairy farms are gone and others are shrinking in the once agricultural leader county.
“With the cost of land and labor, they don’t exist on Long Island anymore,” Ron said.
He wants to keep this heritage alive.
“The men who used this, who did this, they’re not here anymore,” Ron said.
Ron, aware of his age, is in discussions with several museums on Long Island who would like to become a repository of this unique kaleidoscope of history.
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Five hundred visitors come each year for free. Ron says if you have an old tool bring it!