Field Trip 2: Fifer’s Orchard

When thinking of Delaware Agriculture generally poultry and grain are the first two commodities I think of. However Delaware Agriculture is way more than that, which was something I learned on this field trip to Fifer’s Orchard. This family farm is one that is very diversified and one that heavily relies on each family member to do their job in order for the operation to be successful. I knew that produce farms were not uncommon in the Delmarva, as a matter of fact there’s quite a few but I never imagined that one farm could hire over 200 people and till around 3,000 acres of produce with occasional grain for rotational crops. This farm is unique by the variety of produce they grow and sell. Their number one crop for income is sweet corn growing around 1100 acres but strawberries and tomatoes make the most money per acre. They also produce apples, asparagus, kale, pumpkins, and peaches, which is a lot of different products per one farm, but targets a wide variety of customers. We also learned that this produce farm is not organic because without pesticides there would be no way they could be profitable because with environmental pressures such as humidity and the pest pressures they forced to spray their fields once a week. That is one thing that really surprises me because on a grain farm the crop might get sprayed at the most 3 times a year but obviously the produce industry is very different. Then this orchard is quite fascinating because they ship products as far south as Florida and as far north as Maine and everything east of the Mississippi river; which is a huge area to sell products too. In the end this field trip taught me the different processes within the agriculture industry and how different farmers make their income.

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