The Schmiederer Family

Frank Coit started the family farm in the Central Valley town of Mendota, California. He had one of the most diversified farms in the Valley with a variety of row crops such as cotton, tomatoes, beans, garlic, onions, melons, and various grain crops over about 10,000 acres. Then in 1970, Frank was tragically killed in a plane crash. The farm was a lot to manage, and it would have gone under after Frank passed away if the family hadn’t drawn upon their work experiences and education to keep it growing.

Eventually, the family decided to combine Coit Farming (Bill and Kathy Coit, Frank’s brother and his wife), Schmiederer Family Farms (Jeff Schmiederer was the Coits’ nephew), and Calico Farms (all of Jeff's cousins). Today, Jeff Schmiederer, the third-generation farmer in the family, oversees all three farms under his management company Legacy Farm Management.

In 1995, as a result of high labor costs and low commodity prices, Jeff Schmiederer and his father decided to diversify into other crops. They planted their first block of pistachios (80 acres), and since then the family operation has transformed the ranches to predominately orchard crops, with over 700 acres of pistachios. The family also farms almonds, pomegranates, lettuce and onions.

“I have been farming since 1990,” Jeff said. “0ver the last 25 years I have seen big changes in the types of crops being grown as well as in environmental challenges. As farmers, we adapt. As for pistachios, they seem to take on the challenges we face. Pistachios handle poorer water quality from our wells better than other crops, and they can get by with less water than other tree crops. I have also seen the pistachio industry grow from a predominately domestic market to a worldwide market.”

With the family’s support, coupled with the continual need for agriculture in California, Jeff plans to continue expanding the farms—thus keeping the family tradition of farming alive and thriving.

The Schmiederer Family

Jeff Schmiederer and family of Legacy Farm Management