Growing up in St. Charles, Illinois, Nick Sergi had no interest in joining the field his father worked in—electrical contracting.
Ever since Nick was a teenager, he said he wanted to become a farmer, Nick’s brother Joe said recently.
Eventually, Nick followed his ambitions and opened Sergi Farms in Elkhorn.
Nick was an “avid outdoorsman,” Joe said. But in late October, Nick died in an off-road vehicle accident. He was 28.
Before Nick died, he was preparing a large donation of beef. His religious beliefs were the roots of his giving spirit, Joe said.
His family wanted to honor Nick’s memory, so they went through with his plan. On Jan. 11, they gave 1,200 pounds of beef to the Walworth County Food Pantry.
“The donation embraces the spirit of who Nick was and how he lived his life day by day,” Dominic and JoAnn Sergi, Nick’s father and mother, said in a news release. “The words ‘Giving makes you smile’ were not just a line for Nick, they were a guidepost.”
The Sergi family had a lake house in Elkhorn on Lauderdale Lakes. Nick fell in love with the area “since day one,” Joe said.
Nick started the farm in 2013 with “a respectful size herd and number of pastured acres,” the release states. Joe said it was his brother’s “baby” and his “passion.”
In 2017, the farm expanded when it acquired a 143-acre parcel.
Then it was weeks before his death that Nick began setting up his donation.
“(He) always said he wanted to give back, and he’s gonna give back to the community around him that supported his dreams and goals, which is the agriculture and farming business,” Joe told The Gazette.
John and Susan Hughes moved to Lake Geneva more than three years ago. In 2017, they agreed to take over the Walworth County Food Pantry.
With each family able to get somewhere between 1 and 3 pounds of beef, John, the president of the pantry’s board, estimated the donation could serve several hundred families. Seeing high-quality ground beef at about $4 a pound, John said the donation was worth nearly $5,000.
What made the donation even more valuable is how hard ground beef is to get for the pantry. John said they were “thrilled” to receive it because beef is expensive and not normally available through other channels, and it is a versatile option.
“It’s probably the most valuable commodity we need, so getting this much of it, especially such high-quality ground beef, is a real godsend to us,” John said.
“We’ve never received one single donation that valuable.”
A quotation from Nick is posted on the farm’s website.
“Sergi Farms was created from my passion of land and animals. We set ourselves apart from the rest based on the level of hard work and pride we put into our products every day,” Nick said. “Everything we produce, we believe in.”
After Nick’s death, Joe said the family still wants to keep the farm running and Nick’s “legacy alive.” He said they want to give back to other local farmers and help younger prospective farmers.
A note on sergifarms.com is titled “Our Story Is Still Being Written…”
“Nick’s vision is an inspiration to ALL and makes further growing and improving Sergi Farms a natural commitment to make,” the note states. “With the support of its loyal and valued customers, Sergi Farms will remain the thoughtful enterprise Nick dreamed it would be.”