Sergi's Farm's Final Season; Won't Renew Lease
65 years of family farming ends; land owned by Ogilby family deeded for agricultural ... in 1634.
Victor and Peter Sergi are tired.
The brothers – ages 74 and 81, respectively – decided this will be the final year farming the much-cherished Sergi's Farm on Glenn Road that their father began working in 1946.
“We’re just getting too old to handle this,” Victor said of the approximately 10-acre farm and tiny indoor shop that residents and people from surrounding towns look forward to visiting when it opens each June.
While the family will no longer rent the land to grow and harvest rows of vegetables – corn, tomatoes, peppers – flowers and herbs as well as this year's crop of pumpkins, the property, owned by Belmont resident Lydia Ogilby's family since it was granted by King Charles I 14 years after the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, will remain farm land.
"I recall it is protected agricultural land," said Glenn Clancy, director of Belmont's Office of Community Development.
“With just me and Peter doing the majority of the work, it’s too much hassle,” Victor said. “We’re exhausted from the hassle, the intrusion into how we treat the soil.”
Victor said he wants a life with less stress and one where he doesn’t have to worry about weather, bees and bugs.
Rather, he said, he looks forward to going back to his life as a home/repair handyman that he has done for years in Billerica.
“I had to help my brother out this year but then that’s the end,” Victor said.
He and Peter said their family has been lovingly taking care of the land where the farm is located for 65 years.
“All of a sudden, we’ve had trouble with how we treat it,” Victor said in reference to the state coming this past summer to test if fertilizer used on the crops was appropriate.
Hopefully, Victor said, the next tenders of the land will be family-oriented.
“We’re laid back not rush, rush, rush,” he said. “If we’re sitting outside eating lunch and customers come by, we invite them to sit down with us.”
The Sergi family rents the property that’s held by the Belmont Land Trust and supported by the American Farmland Trust. The details of the trust state that the property will be retained predominantly in productive agricultural and farming use to preserve in perpetuity the open condition of the historical land.
According to belmontlandtrust.org, the farm represents “a productive agricultural tract containing rich fertile soil, which has been in cultivation since 1634, when, as part of a land grant, Charles I deeded the property to Abraham Hill of Charlestown, a direct forbear of the current owners, the Ogilby family. Its long use may make it the oldest continually operating farm in the United States.”
Information on the site states that the farm was recognized by the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture as one of the very few remaining active farms still surviving inside Metro-Boston’s Route 128 ring, being less than six miles from the Massachusetts State House.
“The farm has been recognized as a significant private undeveloped and unprotected parcel given a high priority for conservation by the Town of Belmont, as indicated in the Belmont Open Space Plan dated January 2001,” the site reports.