Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, July 01, 1995, Image 42

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    82-Uncaster Farming,* Saturday, July 1, 1995
Bedford Co. Correspondent
NEW PARIS (Bedford Co.)
They come by the carload, ages
infants to octogenarians, for a
day’s outing of picking strawber
ries in the country.
They arrive at the 30-acre Cup
pett farm located on a hillside
which overlooks picturesque Bed
ford County farmland. Strawber
ries are ripe and rows of growing
plants whet the appetite for more
picking as the summer progresses.
A “pick-your-own produce,”
idea originated with fourth gen
eration Cecil Cuppett when he
found his (tyd, Charles, now de
ceased, struggling with cabbage
worms about 20 years ago.
A research biologist, Cecil of
fered to help combat the problems
of raising produce, found the an
swers and helped with the plant
“We still use all the antique
farm equipment the farm has used
for generations,” Cecil says. “We
added a sprayer, bush hog, and a
few other pieces of modem equip
ment, but basically we are plant
ing the way it has always been
Cuppetts’ season begins with
six acres of strawberries to which
7,000 new plants are added each
year. “This hasn’t been the best of
strawberry seasons,” Cecil admits.
“Spring was a little too cool, and
there was too much rain when
June arrived. Hot, humid weather
deterred some pickers and the
weeds have been a constant battle.
“But, overall we’ll come out
OK. It could be worse.”
Other produce grown cm the
Cuppett farm includes raspberries,
potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, on
Eileen Senkey and baby
Regina pick berries.
Donnie Miller Jr., (right) works the cash stand accepting payment from a customer.
Pick Your Own Produce
ions, peas, squash, pumpkins,
gourds, sweet com, lima beans,
yellow and wax green beans, cu
cumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe,
and this year, a row of peanuts.
Tve found that we have a sand
bank here very similar to the
ground in Georgia,” Cecil says.
“The peanuts are an experiment
and I’m anxious to see how they
The strawberries, peas, beans,
cucumbers, sweet com, and toma
toes are all open to picking by out
siders. Other produce is sold at a
small market near the farm. Ce
cil’s wife, Sandy, also oversees a
craft shop in conjunction with the
produce. This-year, the Cuppetts
added kites to their business.
Living on a hillside, free of
power lines, kite flying was a na
tural for this family which in
cludes three daughters, one in col
lege. and two in elementary
school. “So, we added a line of
kites to our shop and have had
good response,” says Cecil.
The Cuppett family farm was
first owned by William Washing
ton Cuppett who passed it on to
John. He was the father of six
sons, three of which got into the
huckstering business traveling
over the mountain to Johnstown
with their produce on a weekly
One of these brothers was Char
les, Cecil’s father, who started the
present business.
“It used to be the freezers and
canners who came to pick our pro
duce,” says Cecil. “Over the years,
this has evolved to become more
of a summer outing. Most of our
pickers now just want the taste of
fresh grown fruits or vegetables.
They want to make one pie like
mom used to make, or a raspberry
cobbler, or strawberry shortcake,
or know what com tastes like if it
is picked and cooked an hour or
two later.
“Consequently, we now have
more pickers but each takes home
Marketing is done by newspa
per ads in both the local area and
surrounding towns such as Cum
berland, Somerset, and Johns
town, “Word of mouth is probably
our very best advertisement,” he
One Monday morning, Cecil
counted 130 cars in the parking
lot, all with two or three pickers.
“An average is 100 to 200 people
per day,” he says.
They are a variety of people like
Eileen Senkey of Windber who
has baby daughter, Regina, in a
baby carrier. Regina, wearing a
Katie and Kimberly Cuppett pick berries for their mother.
5 ...
Mark and Tara Wllkerson of Cincinnati, Ohio, loin their cousin, Alena Fo'tln of New
Paris, In picking berries.
strawberry print bonnet, sleeps
peacefully as mom picks. Two
older sisters have their own bask
ets. “It sounded like a fun thing to
do,” says Eileen. “And, when we
go home, we’ll clean them and
have a dish of strawberries and ice
Elizabeth Wilkerson of Cincin
nati, Ohio, brings her two children
to spend several weeks of vacation
each year with her parents in New
Paris. “We time our vacation
around strawberry and raspberry
season,” she says. “Then, we
come back for beans and com. It’s
just something we look forward to
each year.”
On one recent evening, Cecil
and Sandy met a group of teen
agers picking strawberries for an
evening snack. Also on the hill
side that evening, were a group of
senior citizens aged 78 to 89, all
picking happily together. “They
picked for hours,” Sandy remem
A successful produce farm
doesn’t happen by accident “You
have to know when to put what in
the ground and do it on that exact
day,” Cecil, a research chemist at
a nearby hospital, explains. “For
tunately, I have a job where I can
take my vacation when I see I’m
going to have that kind of a day.
“Other times, I have to start ear
ly in the morning before going to
the hospital, or work late into the
night. I do have to bum the candle
at both ends.”
Cecil is assisted by Donnie
Miller, a neighbor who grew up on
a farm and by his elementary
school teacher wife. It’s his
daughter, Kimberly, a first grader,
who seems to have the most fifth
generation interest in farming.
Over the past five years,
government regulations have not
made his job easier. “It’s the paper
work that can bog you down,” Ce
cil says. “Although I have always
kept good records, as any farmer
should, which helps to ease the
problem.” Most of the regulations
are aimed at those who work in the
fields and, as a chemist, they
aren’t telling Cecil anything he
didn’t already know.
The Cuppett farm is located just
off Route 96.