89-year-old man runs little farm by big NJ highway

WOOD RIDGE NJ — Commuters on New Jersey’s Route 17 are used to driving past sprawling malls, large department stores, and fast-food restaurants.

But for a quarter of a century, they’ve also passed a small farm in Wood-Ridge lovingly tended by Romolo Faustini, who turned 89 in August.

Though small, this farm is the world of Faustini, who spends much of his day tending to the vegetables that will yield a veritable cornucopia of foods, including corn, peppers, eggplant, courgettes, squashes, and tomatoes . Faustini’s happy family and friends are the beneficiaries of this bounty.

Good-natured Faustini’s number one enemy is a pesky weed for which he has zero tolerance.

Faustini gets help from his son Rick and grandson Tim, who has introduced new crops like potatoes into the mix and maintains an Instagram page showcasing the bounty of his grandfather’s labor yields.

Romolo Faustini works on the farm with his grandson Tim.

But make no mistake: this is Romolo Faustini’s farm.

The farm began as a fruit stand, one of three run by the Faustini family. The family also had a farm down in Carlstadt. When it closed 25 years ago, the family brought 150 loads of topsoil and planted it here, turning this patch of slate soil into a fertile farm.

Faustini came from Italy as a young man, became a bricklayer and started a family. But when he wasn’t bricklaying, he was using his green thumb on the land.

“He farmed in Italy as a kid. He loved the farm. But he came here and stayed true to his roots. Literally,” said Rick Faustini, who operates the tractor on the farm.

“The machine can’t do it nearly as well,” as his father, who works the farm by hand, said Rick Faustini.

In winter, Romolo Faustini is never far from the farm.

Right after Christmas, Faustini is already growing seedlings by the window, and in May, the month of May that is sure to have seen the worst of the cold, a new season begins for Faustini on the farm.

“It’s like looking forward to the first day of school. He can’t wait to get out there and get to work,” said Faustini’s son.

And Rick Faustini wants to make one thing clear: It’s not all show. His father, who has some ailments for his 89 years, works long hours every day, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Good luck trying to keep up with him.

Says Rick: “On a Saturday I will come and help for two or three hours. And after the second hour I’ll be shot. He laughs at me and carries on.”

And don’t expect Romolo Faustini to stop any time soon. The farm, it seems, is the secret of his longevity and health.

“I want to keep myself active. I’ll go as far as I can. If I can’t, I’ll sit down and have a beer,” said Faustini. “I want to show that I’m still alive.”

https://6abc.com/romolo-faustini-farm-farmer-new-jersey-farms/12342722/ 89-year-old man runs little farm by big NJ highway

Alley Einstein

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