Times may be uncertain for many amidst COVID-19, but local farmers continue to keep busy in the fields as harvest seasons approach.

"Social distancing on a farm is actually quite easy because we are all in our own tractors or separated," said Dominic DiSanti of DiSanti Farms. "We don’t work in close quarters. We are all outdoors. Right now, we are just staying the course."

DiSanti said he continues to keep an eye on the timeline of the virus outbreak and address workforce precautions in anticipation of harvest season slated for May. In the meantime, DiSanti remains optimistic about the upcoming harvest season, as the farm isn’t experiencing delays concerning input or supply.

"We are just doing tillage operations, machinery operations where all of our employees are separated," DiSanti said. "There’s nothing on the farm side that really concerns us. Our top priority is our employee welfare, and then also our community, because this is very troubling — what you see in the news that’s in the bigger cities. Certainly pray that doesn’t happen here."

Milberger Farms also continues operations, selling everything from certified grass-fed beef to homemade tamales and frozen chiles at its retail stand. Business at the Milberger Farms restaurant at 28570 E. US Highway 50 has slowed as it operates solely through carry-out services, Shane Milberger said.

"The greatest impact of this whole thing that is happening is really all towards my employees," Milberger said. "I have 17 families that we try to care of at Milberger Farms because I have 17 employees.

"They’re absorbing the hours that they can, and we’re doing our best we can to assist our employees with whatever we can."

Milberger said the farm is stocking up on fresh produce following the next three or four weeks.

"One thing we are able to do at our retail stand, because we are still trying to give those employees some hours, is we are doing a very deep clean," Milberger said. "Since we don’t have customers in there, we can tear apart the store. We can do a deep clean so we are taking advantage of the time to do that."

Steve Mauro of Mauro Farms said he’s been occupied on the field, driving the tractor and preparing for harvest. The store at Mauro Farms continues to operate for those needing groceries and continues to practice sanitization and social distancing. Mauro said he does not expect sales to be affected this year by COVID-19, as the need for produce remains in demand.

"If people aren’t coming out to shop, that’s the only thing, but obviously they are going to need some food," Mauro said. "I don’t see any problem unless they don’t start buying what we are growing, but I guess people still got to eat regardless."

Harvest season for Musso Farms starts up in June. Carl Musso of Musso Farms said employees are preparing by plowing the fields, preparing seed beds, and burning irrigation ditches. Musso said the farm is looking to implement hand sanitizing stations at their market stand and also advising customers to wash their produce come harvest season.

"No matter if you buy your produce at the grocery store or wherever you buy your fresh produce, wash all your fruits and vegetables," Musso said. "You don’t know who has touched them before you. We’ll do our part and the public is going to have to do their part."


Twitter: @jamesbartolo6