Deerfield Farmer Remembered for Corn Production, Focus on Family

The Recorder, July 31st, 2016, by Shelby Ashline. “Frank Ciesluk believed his sweet corn was the best because of the soil. Everyone else believed it was because of Frank.”

Eighty-four-year-old Frank E. Ciesluk, owner of Ciesluk Farm on Greenfield Road, died Friday at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton after a period of failing health, according to his family.

Ciesluk is perhaps best known for farming, as Ciesluk Farm is one of the largest producers of corn in Franklin County. The farm and his family were a great source of pride for Ciesluk, according to his daughter-in-law Nicole Ciesluk, 51, of Deerfield.

“It’s a family farm,” she said. “That’s what Frank has been most proud of. He built it out of nothing, and now we raise over 100 acres of sweet corn.”

Nicole Ciesluk said she knew Frank Ciesluk for 30 years, and remembers him as a caring, loving, generous, smart and very old-fashioned man who got started farming very early in life.

Frank Ciesluk grew up milking cows at Ciesluk Farm, which was originally a dairy farm his family had purchased in the early 1900s. After graduating from Deerfield Academy, he continued to focus on agriculture, and began growing corn 40 years ago.

“He started with a couple of baskets of corn on the side of the road, and sold out,” Nicole Ciesluk said. “He just started growing more and more. Eventually we decided to open a farm stand.”

Under Frank Ciesluk’s supervision, Ciesluk Farm has regularly sold corn to Foster’s Supermarket in Greenfield, Whole Foods, Price Chopper, Keystone Market in Shelburne Falls and numerous other local markets. The farm’s Silver King white corn is renowned for its taste, Nicole Ciesluk said.

“He had people coming from different states just to buy his white corn because it was so delicious,” she said. “We’ve had people visit and say their parents and grandparents used to stop in to get corn.”

Frank Ciesluk was also a member of the Old Deerfield Fire Department and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation.

“We’re deeply saddened, but we know he’s in a better place,” Nicole Ciesluk said of her family’s loss. She said his children, grandchildren and perhaps someday his great-grandchildren will continue to operate Ciesluk Farm to keep his legacy alive.

Frank Ciesluk is survived by his wife Maryanne Ciesluk; his son Steven Ciesluk and his wife Christine; his daughter Suzanne Antonellis and her husband Tom; his daughter Cindy Sanderson and her husband Alan: his daughter-in-law Nicole Ciesluk; his grandchildren Frank Ciesluk III, Clark Ciesluk, Cassidy Ciesluk, Jennifer Antonellis, Christopher Antonellis, Michael Antonellis, Jacob Sanderson, Megan Murphy, Carter Ciesluk and Brady Ciesluk; and his great-granddaughter Alexis Antonellis. He was predeceased by his son Frank Ciesluk Jr.

As a tribute to Frank Ciesluk, Nicole Ciesluk said her family members will shine up the farm’s tractors and line them along the side of the road. Members of the funeral procession will be able to admire them on their way to Laurel Hill Cemetery behind the farm, where Frank Ciesluk will be buried.

“When the funeral procession goes by, everyone can see what Frank built up there,” Nicole Ciesluk said. “It will be one proud moment for him up in the sky.”