Fifers Orchards Field Trip

“The thing we’re really blessed with is, none of us want to do the others job” (Bobby Fifer). Bobby fifer, the farmer of the Fifer’s operation, informed the University of Delaware students about fifers orchards through giving a tour of the different crops they were growing and the processes in growing and harvesting those crops for a successful product. Fifers Orchards, unlike many local farms, began during the early 19th century when the 1st generation moved from Virginia to Delaware, purchased land, and began growing various crops for profit. With the start of the farm from the first generation, over time the family began growing more crops and purchased more land in which has led to the fourth generation of the family to own and operate 3,000 acres and growing the crops: peaches, apples, strawberries, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, soybeans and sweet corn today; the corn and soybeans are mainly used as rotational crops.

On the farm, each family member has their own role which is part of the reason of why the farm has become very successful, along with the additions of technology contributes to the farm’s success as well. On the orchard, the orchard uses the technology practices of irrigation, tractors to apply pesticides and herbicides to the crop as well as harvest the corn and grain crops, trucks for transport of produce, cooler rooms to keep the produce fresh, and mechanical belts to size and weigh the produce has allowed the orchard to grow to the size of the current operation and further grow as time proceeds forward. Although there are various uses of technology on the farm, most of their crops produced are handpicked and packaged, as well as they have a running produce store that causes the operation to always have a need for labor; that is mainly received through a program of the government who provides the farm with people from out of country regions who are hard working and willing to work the tasks needed to produce a successful crop on the farm. Essentially, Fifers Orchards is a large operation that needs “all hands-on deck” to make this operation successful in the present and for future day time. Throughout this trip, many things can be learned which allows the students knowledge of the vegetable operation to further grow and expand.


Throughout this trip, the process of growing to selling produce, the roles of the family, labor, and how technology is used on the farm was discussed which allowed myself and the other students of the understanding todays ag class to develop a further understanding of the vegetable industry as well as gain new knowledge of the industry on the farm and the vegetable industry as a whole. During this trip, I learned that most of the crops were hand picked and were then weighed and sized through a mechanical belt operation as well as that each family member had their own role; which allowed me to come to a realization of just how close the family was and how the main part of the success of the operation was because the family stuck to their own roles. Essentially, reducing conflict and creating more focus on each part of the operation for “perfection” of each area of the operation so that their business is very successful as the result.


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