At the age of three, Michael Zingler just knew he was going to be a farmer.
“While not raised on a farm, I spent a lot of time working on them growing up,” Michael says. “When I was a teenager, these farms provided me with work and a source of income. I always dreamed of being involved in the industry.”
At 24, after working for a farmer nearing retirement, Michael got his official start. He was given the opportunity to rent the operation, and soon purchased his own land and equipment. Michael’s commercial enterprise now boasts 570 acres, with more than half dedicated to fruit. He continues to keep a focus on the future. “I’m always looking for great new varieties and opportunities,” he says. “The best thing we can do as growers – both for the industry and the end user – is give the consumer the kind of flavor and quality that will lead them back for more.”
Growing more than 20 varieties, Michael commits acreage to both up-and-coming varieties like SweeTango® and consumer favorites like McIntosh and Honeycrisp.
Also on the horizon: Michael’s 18-year-old son plans to attend Cornell University to study plant sciences and then return to the family business. “I was very fortunate to have a grower receptive to the idea of my running his farm. Now I get to usher in the next generation, and that’s exciting.”