I live in Delaware and I have been to Fifer Orchards many times, but on the field trip I learned so much more about their business. The Fifers till 2800 acres; sweet corn, strawberries, and tomatoes being their biggest money makers. They grow a huge variety of crops in alternating seasons which is rare for a Delaware farmers market. I was shocked to learn how far they ship their produce and that they have contracts with major companies such as Walmart. I also enjoyed learning how they run their CSA program; I work at a smaller produce market and we ran our system differently, but Fifers incorporated promotion of their market in the weekly boxes, and had a variety of different boxes to choose from. It was very interesting to see that they also had acres for testing new crops. They grew all different varieties of cauliflower and kale by customer request, and understood very well how the trends were moving, and as a result changed the varieties they grow to the ones gaining more popularity. The tour of the farm really showed why Fifer Orchards was such an success and what makes it stands out from other Delaware farmers markets.
September 23rd, “Understanding Today’s Agriculture” Class enjoyed a field trip to Fifer’s Orchard in Camden-Wyoming, Delaware. This fourth-generation family farm tills 2,800 acres, producing a variety of produce and field crops. They have 160 people on payroll, benefitting the area with jobs.
On our field trip we were able to see a field with a variety of cauliflower and kale as well as Apple Trees. On the farm they also have high tunnel, which is where they grow tomatoes, start to finish. Growing tomatoes in high tunnel, allowed for a controlled environment. It was really interesting to not only see a center pivot irrigation system in the grains fields, but they also have a drip irrigation system for other products. They also have a store, where they can sell to local consumers. Every Saturday until Halloween, they have a Fall Fest on Saturday’s, be sure to check out their social media and join the numerous activities and venders.
Without today’s technology Fifers Orchard would not be able to have grown as they have today. They are thankful for the science and technology they have available to keep their business running. They are looking forward to what the future has to offer. Yet, they face a challenge with labor-intensive jobs. Most of their produce is hand picked and packaged.
Fifer’s Orchard works with a Community Supported Agriculture club (CSA) that provides a variety of produce weekly to locations throughout Delaware. They also sell locally at their country store, to schools and to restaurants. Not only does their produce travel locally, it travels all the way to Florida because it is too hot in the summer for Florida to grow produce, we supply Southern States with produce and in the winter they provide us with produce.
Be sure to check Fifer’s out located in Camden-Wyoming Delaware.
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/fiferorchards/
Fifer Orchards is a local farm and country store located in Camden-Wyoming, DE. Tilling over 2800 acres Fifers produces a diverse amount of crops along with their biggest profit sweet corn. This past summer I was fortunate enough to work at Fifer Orchards and after the field trip I gained even more respect for the farm and the things they do to benefit the community and the agriculture industry. Throughout the field trip we were taken to several fields and shown many different crops, one of the most interesting was kale which is hand harvested. We were then given a tour of the packing house and cooler and shown the behind the scenes that goes into getting Fifer Orchards produce out to the public. We were lucky enough to visit on the first day of the fall fest so it was a busy Saturday for the Fifer Orchards staff. The farm puts on many events for the community throughout the year such as the strawberry festival, customer appreciation day and the fall fest. Apple cider slushes couldn’t be handed out fast enough to the customers. After working at Fifers over the summer and the field trip I have really seen the hard work that goes into the family business and how hard the family strives to serve the community.
Fifer Orchards is an amazing family owned 2800 acre farm. The farm is an amazing example of Delaware Agriculture. Fifer Orchards is a community based orchard that focuses it’s attention on involvement, education, and community supported agriculture (CSA). The farm grows produce such as sweet corn, cauliflower, kale, apples, strawberries, and tomatoes. They also have a wonderful market in which they sell pies, baked goods, and jams. We visited Fifer Orchards on their first Fall Fest day of 2017-2018. They had a band, food trucks, and bouncy houses for the community to come spend time and learn about where their food is grown. It was amazing to see the technology they utilize to produce incredible yields. Fifer uses hand labor, but they also use machines to do a variety of tasks such as planting beds and laying plastic for next years strawberry crops. They use specialized plastic for their high tunnels that reject red UV light to keep the temperatures cool. Their watering systems vary on the crop in which they are placed, but they use pivot irrigation systems or drip. They annually employ over 160 people! Seeing the diversity and the variety of techniques they use to maintain a successful business was very inspirational! Their family business is truly amazing, and contributes to Delaware’s community!
My experience at Fifer Orchards was superb! From the minute I gazed upon the farm I knew I was in for a treat! The diversity of crops of fruits, vegetables, and how they’re treated was simply impressive, in today’s era Fifer Orchard’s harvest has produced strawberries, 27 varieties of apples, 36 varieties of peach, blueberries, nectarines, plums, cherries, sweet corn, asparagus, etc. Sweet corn has been the most dominant production, and can either be harvested or machine harvested. Sweet corn is the only crop that is machine harvested on the farm! The most intriguing part about this farm is it’s not just a farm, but a fantastic fresh market with an unbelievable amount of different kinds of foods for the customers. The market has anything from fresh hand- picked apples to hand dipped ice cream and apple cider slushies. What also separates this farm from many others on Delmarva is the Community Supported Agriculture Club, also called the Delmarva box. This club consists of a weekly box with a variety of fruits and vegetables for 18 weeks straight. This helps reach the attainable goal of no waste from any of the produce! So clearly Fifer orchards is a top tier produce farm, and I really am intrigued and look forward to visiting again as there is much more to learn!
On the 23rd of September, we went to have a tour of Fifer Orchards located in Camden-Wyoming, Delaware. This +2,500 acre farm is a fourth generation family run farm. Bobby Fifer gave us a tour of the farm along with going out in the fields to look at the different types of irrigation systems they have in the fields ( center pivot irrigation and drip irrigation) As well as being showed the fields and where the fruit and produce was being grown we got a chance to look in the packaging and distribution center and how each of the items is processed to enter our local stores and businesses. One extremely interesting thing that I found out while on the farm was that the orchard ships all up and down the east coast and east of the Mississippi River! This is beyond incredible especially for us being such a small state. Another thing that I found to be interesting was that there is a program called the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this is where the farm puts together pre-paid boxes of produce and have drop-off locations for families to pick up produce. This is more effective that farmers market because there is little to no product waste. Whereas at farmers markets you can run out of produce and make the customer upset or you can bring to much of a certain product and then have leftovers which would have to be thrown away. Fifer’s Orchard always has events and activities going on each weekend. This week was the kick off to their fall fest and there were so many games for kids and vendors for shopping. They also had their shop open which had the BEST Apple CIder Slushies! This was by far one of my favorite field trips and will definitely be visiting them soon again
Although I was not able to attend this field trip, it sounded like a lot of fun from what my friends told me. I also did a little research on Fifer’s orchard while I had a moment. I think the most interesting part is the CSA as we were talking about them with Professor Jenkins in my ENGL230 class. I think it is amazing that they can grow so much fresh food and then send it to those who have signed up for it. I am now considering going one or growing my own garden once I go back home since learning more about the CSA program.
Getting a behind the scenes tour of Fifer’s Orchard was a great experience. Growing up in southern Delaware I have been to the farm for many events in years past and my family has frequently bought produce and other goods from the store. One of the things that shocked me the most was that sweet corn was one of their biggest money makers. When I think fifers I think pumpkins and fruits, I wasn’t really aware they grew corn let alone that it brought in a lot of money for the company. I was also unaware of their CSA program. This was probably the most exciting part of the field trip for me because I really enjoy using fresh produce to cook meals but with being at school sometimes it’s hard to get ahold of. I plan on being part of the Delmarva box program this coming year, and I’m looking forward to trying new recipes with new ingredients.
The second trip of the fall semester for PLSC167 was to Fifer’s Orchard in Camden Wyoming Delaware. Fifer’s Orchard is a family run farm that grows a variety of crops with their biggest money-makers being sweet corn and pumpkins. During the trip Bobby Fifer explained to us the entire process the operation goes through from growing, to harvest, to packing, and finally their different forms of retail. Planting, harvesting, and packing are the most labor intensive practices for Fifers. At peak, Fifers hires over 100 H-2A workers to man the tasks. H-2A is a program that allows employers to bring in foreign workers to America for seasonal work. The farm also has its own packing line for apples and other products it grows. Fifers market their products by supplying Walmart and giant with produce while also maintaining their own retail store. They also manage an 18 week Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program called the Delaware Box. Patrons of the Delaware Box pay for a share of the harvest at the beginning of the year return for a box full of what crops are being harvested every other week. The boxes are filled at the farm and shipped to one of 8 pick up points determined by Fifers.