By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
The pickles and cucumbers were abundant, tomatoes were brightening from green to red on their vines and rows of sweet corn were just about ready to be picked on a recent day at Angiuli’s Farm Market.
Beginning this week, the farm will begin harvesting its own sweet corn and selling it fresh each day.
The crop will join the farm’s other summer offerings, including zucchini, cucumbers, pickles, tomatoes and blueberries – all of which grow on the 250-acre farm at 9600 Columbiana-Canfield Road.
“We’re going to be at full swing here soon,” said Carl Angiuli, who helps manage his parents’ farm.
Mario and Rita Angiuli started the farm in 1981, a few years after immigrating to the Mahoning Valley from their native Italy.
Now, 37 years later, the business remains a family affair. The couple remains actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm, joined by four of their five sons.
“Our focus has always been produce,” said Carl, the couple’s oldest son. “We raise everything from asparagus to zucchini.”
This year’s crops faced some early challenges with winter weather stretching into April, but the recent heat wave helped get them back on track, Angiuli said.
The business has mostly recovered from a challenge that came when the market was destroyed two years ago this month in a fire. Currently, the market is operating out of a large tent next to the structure that is being rebuilt.
The new structure remains under construction, with no completion date set yet.
Angiuli said the business has rebounded thanks to a couple of successful seasons.
“It was difficult, but we live in a great community and everybody rallied around us to get through it,” he said.
This month, he said, the farm is busy picking popular summer produce such as zucchini, squash, cucumbers, pickles, blueberries, and now corn.
Each and every vegetable and piece of fruit that customers buy has been picked within the last day or so. The corn is even fresher, as farm workers harvest it in the morning and sell it that day.
As the corn is picked, more is planted, with between 15 and 20 plantings over the course of 75 to 80 days.
Although summer is well underway, this marks the beginning of the busy season for produce farmers. The peak selling season runs from the middle of August through October, Angiuli said.
Despite the hard work that goes into each planting and harvesting, Angiuli said he enjoys the work. As manager of the farm, he’s involved in every aspect of the business.
His favorites, he said, are the crops and the people.
“I enjoy growing the crops, and I enjoy working with the customers,” he said.
The operation is based out of the main location in Canfield, and Angiuli’s also has satellite locations on Mahoning Avenue in Austintown, in Cornersburg, at Market Street and Wildwood Drive in Boardman, at Pinetree Plaza in Niles and at state Route 46 and King Graves Road in Howland.
Over the years, the market’s focus has remained local.
“We do a little bit of wholesaling, but 80 percent of our business is retail, selling in the Mahoning Valley,” Angiuli said.