A Visit to Fifer Orchards

On Saturday, the class took a trip to Fifer Orchards in Wyoming Delaware. We got to see what kinds of crops they grew, and what methods they used for growing them.

For instance, on a lot of their crops (such as broccoli and kale), a center pivot irrigation system was used. This is where a large machine pivots in a circular shape around the field and sprays water in order to hydrate the plants. On other crops (such as peaches), they used drip irrigation. This is where crops are hydrated from the bottom to avoid getting the leaves of the plant wet, which can increase chance for disease, but this system is more inconvenient to use.

Some crops had unique structures associated with them as well. Strawberries used plasticulture where their soil was raised off the ground and covered in black plastic, and tomatoes used a high tunnel where there would be fabric shading the tomatoes in a similar fashion to a greenhouse. These methods both protect the crop during cold weather.

This trip was interesting, and it shed some light on both the physical growth side of farming as well as the marketing side once the crop is harvested.

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