Meet the Zittel Farmers – 100 Years and Growing!
Paul, George, Bill, David, Kevin, Evan
The Zittels have been farming in Eden Valley since 1897 when George Zittel left his father’s East Eden Dairy farm to buy land in Eden Valley. The farm was sold to his son Amos in 1934 who sold it to his sons George and Paul in 1964. The farm was incorporated 12 years later in 1976. Presently they each have two sons who have bought into the business. Today, George, Paul, Bill, David, Mark and Kevin all work together.
Amos Zittel & Sons consists of 3 main businesses: Fresh market vegetable production,greenhouse production, and a retail market DBA Zittel’s Country Market.
Presently, we are producing vegetables on approximately 300 acres. These include Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Boston & Romaine), Strawberries, Peppers, Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Squash and Pumpkins. 95% of our produce is sold through our marketing co-op, Eden Valley Growers, founded by Amos and other farmers in the valley in 1957.
Our greenhouse operation consists of an unfinished crop of geraniums, ivy, fuchsia, vegetative spring plants liners, primarily marketed through Ball Seed Co., Eason Horticultural Resources, SHS Griffen, and a finished crop of spring annuals sold directly to WNY Garden Centers and Nurseries. We produce approximately 1 million rooted liners and grow 3 acres of finished spring crop. The first of eight gas wells was dug in 1976 to help offset the cost of fuel.
Zittel’s Country Market was first opened in 1986 on Camp Road in Hamburg and rebuilt in 1996 at 4415 Southwestern Blvd. We are open seasonally from Easter through Christmas featuring flowers, strawberries, corn, tomatoes, pumpkins and Christmas Trees. In addition we host over 2000 students and parents for a fall educational field trip during the month of October.
Our farm uses the most innovative cultural practices including trickle irrigation, plastic mulches and integrated pest management to maximize quality and production and minimize pesticide usage and conserve water. Within our IPM program, we hire scouts to provide weekly reports that together with pest minder trap counts and other data our managers can determine when and what we need to spray to minimize chemical usage.
In addition, our farm families feel strongly about setting up the business operation so it may be fairly and equitably passed on from one generation to the next. We have successfully gone from 2nd to 3rd to 4th generations with expectation of the 5th arriving in the next few years.