Category Archives: Production Agriculture

Getting to The Core of The Orchard Industry

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.

Fifer Orchard’s Field Trip

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!


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.