Zarpentine’s has been a family owned and operated working farm since the mid 1800′s and most likely before that time. The current owners Ron and Pat Zarpentine, along with their children Rob Zarpentine and Kim Francis continue the rich heritage. The farm was used for raising cash crops such as wheat, corn, oats as well as a small dairy when Ron’s great grandparents on his mother’s side ( Taber ) owned it. The farm was then handed down to Bert and Alta Taber, Ron’s grandparents who continued in the same tradition.
When Ron’s mom (Edith Taber Zarpentine) and dad (Alonzo Zarpentine) purchased the farm there were also some older standard fruit trees on the property. The apples harvested from these trees were shipped to the processing plant, Duffy & Motts to be made into apple sauce and juice. Today you will still be enjoying some of Zarpentine Farms apples in the products made by Motts.
When Ron and Pat married in 1976, they moved onto the homestead. That was also the year they began the shift away from cash cropping and raising livestock, to growing more fruit trees and building their business when they planted the first block of semi dwarf apple trees (about 1200 of them) and built and opened the farm market. In 1986 they officially purchased the farm from Edith and Alonzo. When the farm market first opened, most of their sales consisted of bushel quantities of fruit such as apples, pears and peaches. At that time many families would can, freeze and preserve the fruit for use throughout the winter. Over the years that trend began to change. Families were smaller, both parents needed to work and the time it took to “put up” the fruit was not as readily available.
Today, the biggest selling items are the smallest size containers of fruit. People stop in on their way to and from work; pick up fresh packed seasonal fruit and veggies as needed for the week instead of for the season. On Jan 9, 2003, Zarpentine Farms received the Governors award and the Century Farm Award. These honors are given to traditional family farms that have been used as the sole source of income for over 100 years. It has been a lifetime of hard work, commitment, dedication and ingenuity to keep things going in the ever changing economy of our times. In order to keep their heads above water and bring in the income needed to hang on to the land, changes were needed. So, a small bakery was opened by Pat. She baked homemade bread, muffins and little donuts that soon became a great big hit! Zarpentine Farms Apple Fritters. Today, the fritters and the cider fry cakes made by son Rob are the biggest bakery hits, followed closely by the pies, turnovers and other seasonal goodies!
Ron and Pat turned over the day to day operation of the Farm Market to their daughter Kim Francis. She has been a huge part in bringing the market to its current place of excellence in product and customer service. In 2001 Pat introduced the first corn maze to the seasonal line up of activities. The MAiZE is now a fixture of family fun every Fall. The designs change every year but the challenge is always the same: Get Lost! And have a ball doing it!