At September twenty-third, 2017, we went to the Fifer Orchards farm, which is located in Camden Wyoming, DE, one hour drive from the University of Delaware. It is a family farm and the fourth generation. What is more, It is the season of apples and pumpkins. We went to the apple picking area where tourist also can go to pick up apples by themselves. The field, next to it, is a huge area of the strawberry field. In the past, I thought the way to water them is rotating sprinklers on pipes. What I saw in the field is drip irrigation. Pipes are put inside of the soil and the soil is covered by black plastic materials. Drip irrigation is a slow process to provide water and fertilizer to plant roots. Because it is on the inside of the soil, it does well on keeping the perfect moisture and keeping the plant surface dry which saves water resource and reduces disease and pest problems.
Since they plant the variety of vegetable and fruit in different time of the seasons, there must be a most profitable one, which is the sweet corn. When we think about farm markets, we may think there may be a competition between the weekly farmer markets located across the state and the Fifer Orchards farm, but the fact is the Fifer Orchards farm sell products to them. In the end, we arrived their market shopping area. All kinds of delicious apples and pretty pumpkins. I am really glad I got the chance to visit here with my professors and classmates.
This weekend was the second field trip of the semester! Fall is just getting started, and I couldn’t have picked a better place to go: an apple orchard! Fifers Orchard is a 4th generation, family-run farm in Camden-Wyoming, Delaware, and we were lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at the entire operation.The tour was given by Bobby Fifer, and started at the heart of the business: the farm. We were able to see a portion of the land where they grow and harvest their fresh produce. With nearly 3,000 acres of farmland they grow many different crops, including kale, cauliflower, strawberries and of course apples! We learned that they grow cauliflower of unusual colors, including purple and orange, as well as over 20 different varieties of apples. But by far, their biggest money-maker is sweet corn; Fifer’s supplies corn to the entire east coast, and nearly every state east of the Mississippi! After seeing the farm, we were taken to the packaging and distribution center. We learned about some of the technology that is used for sorting fruits, tomatoes, and peaches, and talked with Curt Fifer, Bobby’s brother and the man behind the shipments/sales. After talking with us about some of the challenges that can be encountered during the shipping process we were taken to their brick and mortar store and introduced to their cousin, Michael. We discussed the marketing side of the business and their CSA program. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s like a weekly subscription to fresh produce. Every week you receive a box of various fruits and vegetables that are currently in season, straight from the farm. CSAs are one of their most reliable ways of making sales, as well as great opportunities for advertisement and getting people to eat fresh.
At the end of the day we raided the store for all sorts of goodies – delicious baked goods, fresh ciders, and much, much more. Everyone went home with their hands full and pockets empty from this one-of-a-kind field trip.
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.
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.
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.
Our second field trip was held at fifers Orchards. We were given the opportunity of a thorough tore throughout the farm at the orchard, were they grew both fruits and vegetables. It was surprising that pumpkins were among those crops that bring in the greatest income as well as sweet corn. I was very impressed with Fifers’ social media out reaches as they used multiple social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to try and reach out to more potential customers. We got to see firsthand in the assembly lines of apples, where they were boxed by a certain grading standard and those seen unfit to consumption standards are sent to be used for juice or to be disposed of. What I found most interesting was all the different types of apples that they grew at Fifers throughout the seasons. Honey crisp being my favorite of all others grown.