While I was unable to attend the field trip myself, my friend Mollie told me all about it afterwards. She told me that Fifers Orchards is a 3,000 acre family owned farm in Delaware. This farm is owned and operated mostly by the fourth generation of the family, who initially moved here from Virginia. Each family member has their own role in the operations of the farm and they stick to that role. Luckily, this has worked smoothly and everyone in this generation is happy with their role. On the farm, they grow strawberries, kale, cauliflower, peaches, apples, tomatoes, soybeans, and sweet corn. The crops are, for the most part, handpicked, which requires a lot of physical labor. The corn and grain crops are mechanically harvested. Luckily the produce is weighed and sized mechanically and stored in a cooler room kept at 31-36 degrees while the produce awaits shipment. Advancements in technology such as in irrigation, tractors to apply pesticides and herbicides, the cooler room to keep produce fresh, and of course the equipment to harvest the corn and grain crops have contributed to the success Fifers has had. Imagine carrying products out of the fields or spraying crops with pesticides by hand- that would take ages! Fifers is a family owned and very successful farm in Delaware through new technology, school outreach, and strong family relationships.
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/