Through drought, covid, Cervelli Farm sprouts successful season

Sep 13, 2020

ROCHESTER  — On a sunny, early fall afternoon customers trickle in and out of the Cervelli Farm Stand on Vaughn Hill Road.

Flowers grow in the field nearby, corn sits out on a table in front of the stand for people to bag up, and other than the obvious masks, hand sanitizers and floor markings, it seems as if things were normal at the farm despite a statewide drought and a global pandemic. 

For Scott Makowski and all the workers at the farm, business has “been pretty steady.” 

He has been a part of the farm his whole life, as his stepfather owns it. 

Farming is “one of the better professions to be isolated with,” Makowski said, adding that the profession is socially distanced by nature.

Sarah Reusch has been working at the farm for awhile and said that when they were preparing for the season in March and April in the farm’s greenhouse, “it was almost like we didn’t even know it [covid] was happening,” because of the few number of employees that usually work there.

When the farm stand opened for the season she said, workers took precautions like bagging items for customers and letting them do self-serve to minimize contact. 

As time passed, Reusch said people have been getting used to the regulations of wearing masks and social distancing. 

Makowski also said the farm has been steady with its local wholesale customers like Lloyd’s Market, Friend’s Marketplace and Fieldstone Market.

During the summer and into early fall, the state has experienced a water drought. 

Thanks to the farm’s irrigation system (think lawn sprinklers, but much bigger and a lot more of them), Makowski said they didn’t lose much. 

Unfortunately, what the farm did lose is its fall events.

Pumpkin picking, apple picking, its annual corn maze, and wagon rides are off for this year because of complications around making it work amidst covid regulations. 

But the farm is still making the most of it. On the following Sunday, Makowski was throwing pumpkins from a bin to Reusch who was setting them on a display inside a tent next to the farm stand.

The “pumpkin patch” features a variety of squashes, pumpkins and gourds, tied together by a giant skeleton that stands at the center of the tent. 

“It’s been pretty great,” Makowski said.