The big ten has arrived, as in the month of October. With it, comes many traditions, including a chill in the air, leaves turning to amber tones and here in Folsom, return of Folsom’s iconic pumpkin patch at Zittel Farms.
Over the past weekend, the small family-owned farm nestled into the corner of Folsom-Auburn Road and Oak Avenue was bustling with activity as family got into the seasonal swing of things and began their hunt for those perfect pumpkins.
When it comes to Zittel Farms, there is always a large variety of pumpkins to choose from. From big to small, from orange to white and everything in between, the Folsom favorite has them all.
Zittel Farms has been a destination for families to kick off the holiday season since 1976. Nestled in the heart of the city, it remains a destination for generations of Folsom residents as well as distant travelers each year. Today, many adults who visited the ranch as children are now starting their own traditions of taking their little ones to experience it.
“It’s one of those must hit places each year, its tradition,” said Anthony Davis. Davis grew up just down the road near Orangevale and remembers coming to the farm with his parents each October. “It was always something my sister and I looked forward to as little kids, so my wife and I make sure we made it a thing to bring our kids here each year.” …continued below.
To this day, the Zittel family is still the force behind Folsom’s authentic farm. Not only do they offer a hoopla of pumpkins to choose from, they have many other offerings for visitors as well.
If you have little ones and are visiting the pumpkin patch, there are live farm animals to visit, from a full-size horse to a miniature one and of course you can’t pay a visit without saying hello to Billy the cow. There is also hay rides around the farm to enjoy and more.
Inside the barn, there are many other offerings to purchase, such as local honey, craft preserves, dried lavender, kettle corn and more. Regardless of what you purchase at the farm, everything is priced reasonably, something the Roger and Gail Zittel have always practiced in an effort to keep the farm experience affordable for families.
Folsom wasn’t always home to the Zittel’s. Roger originally grew up on a seventh-generation vegetable farm just south of Buffalo, New York. He made his way to Folsom during a time when there were less people here. His migration to Folsom is always a story he loves to tell.
“There were 4,000 people in Folsom at the time we came. You won’t believe it, there was one stop sign, simpler times. Everyone knew each other, which was nice,” are words that Roger has said many a time, to residents, visitors and members of the media who love to ask about the early days on the Folsom farm. To this day, he loves to hear visitors tell him how they came to the farm as children and return as adults to create new memories with their own little ones.
The farm hasn’t been the only part of Folsom associated with the Zittel’s. Roger was the first manager of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and promoted businesses in the city for over two decades. He was also a founding member of the Folsom Athletic Association and helped establish the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.
Gail, served on Folsom’s Planning Commission for seven years and assisted with the development of the city’s General Plan. The two have long been very involved in the community and the City of Folsom has recognized that, naming the Historic Folsom Amphitheater after the Zittel family.
When you visit Zittel Farms, you can’t help by notice the many antiques throughout the farm, both outside and inside the barn. Both Roger and Mary have long been fans of Amish antiques, many of which are part of the farm’s décor, or should way say, “personality.”
Among the many relics you can check out are the sheepherder’s wagon and Cinderella wagon that have brought so many smiles to so many kids through the years, smiles that have been captured in thousands of photos as families use the antiques as background for their family photos when they visit the farm.
While Zittel Farms is home to its famous pumpkin patch now through Halloween, the holiday happenings won’t stop there. As Thanksgiving arrives the corner ranch routinely transforms into a Christmas Tree farm each year as well.
Zittel Farms is officially located at 6781 Oak Ave. in Folsom. The ranch is openTuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.. They are closed on Mondays. You can learn more about them at www.zittelfarms.com.