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.
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.
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