Month: February 2016

When I Grow Up

AGKJ_135thMamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Don’t let ’em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such
(Ed Bruce, 1975)

When I was growing up if you asked an elementary school-aged kid what they wanted to be when they grew up, Cowboy was pretty high on the list, at least for boys. Farmer, Doctor or Lawyer? Not so much.

I grew up on a farm so I was exposed to it every day. We rode along with our dads when they checked the fields and at a fairly early age would drive the tractors and trucks putting out cabbage crates or apple boxes ahead of the picking crew or picking up bales of hay or boxes of harvested fruit. As a teenager I didn’t love working but, as my dad explained to me at the time. “You don’t have to work on the farm, but you have to work somewhere.” Given the alternatives, the farm wasn’t so bad and by the time I went to college I had decided that coming back to the family farm was what I wanted to do with my life.

“So where will the next generation of farmers come from?” is a question I find myself asking myself more and more as I approach my 60th birthday. Times are different and even the next generation of Bishop family members didn’t have quite the same exposure to the farm side of the business that my generation did.

I think farming gets a bad rap because a lot of the “entry level” jobs are not glamorous and involve being outdoors in all kinds of weather, but once you get past that, it can be a pretty good career choice. Farmers all over the country are looking for that next generation of farm managers, so there is pretty good upward mobility too. (I am talking about production agriculture. Farms with sustainable business models and the scale of operation to be successful.)

So… Mamas, maybe the time is right to let your babies grow up to be farmers.

Service in the Community

Our family has been part of Guilford since the beginning with the signing of the Covenant in 1639. In addition, we have had this growing business in the same community since 1871.  Guilford means a lot to each of us.  It is where we grew up, learned, played, worked and has made us into who we are today.  This is a strong knit community.

12552990_10153977783604962_6652054120308351591_nIt was instilled in my siblings and me from a young age by our parents and grandparents the importance of helping others, giving back, and being grateful for what we have.  We were always involved in some way, whether it was delivering meals with my grandmother for Meals on Wheels or supporting my aunt in the Special Olympics, the list is long.  

As soon as I moved back to Guilford in 2014 I knew I wanted to find something in the community to be involved with.  After the request from Gene Bishop to be his guest for a Guilford Rotary meeting, I found the group to be something I would be interested in.  The basis of Rotary International is service.  Rotary holds a few large fundraising events during the year.  The funds raised go directly back into community organizations and a couple national/international Rotary Projects.  

Guilford Rotary is made up of members in the community that volunteer their time.  The members are all people who are part of the community through their occupation and live here.  The weekly meetings bring together all these people; Realtors, Bankers, Reverends, Librarians, Teachers, Chiropractors, the list goes on and on.  All these different people come together for a common purpose, service to our wonderful community.  

I was just inducted as a member of the Guilford Rotary on February 3rd.  In becoming a member I am excited to meet more people from Guilford.  The people and organizations are part of what make this town wonderful.  By connecting with people at the events and meetings it helps us as a business for feedback and knowing what our customers want.  As businesses and people in town, we rely a lot on each other for support and to add value.  This is just part of how we support our local community.

Mommy Mondays

As a full time working mom of two, I often find myself questioning “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?”… at 5pm!   No matter how many times I have told myself, “I am going to plan out our meals this week,” I rarely follow through.  It’s not for the lack of trying or caring… It’s just one of those things that sometimes gets pushed to the back burner as there are so many things to do and keep track of.

12745908_10205531826678005_286096985411683840_nJust like many other moms out there… we just wish that there was more time in the day.  More time in the day to get work done, to spend with the kids, to clean and do laundry, maybe run errands, not to mention maybe  5 or 10 minutes to ourselves to relax?   A girl can dream, right?

So what am I going to do about it? How can I plan better? How can I make it so that I am not still trying to figure out what’s in my refrigerator or freezer when I get home with the kids at 6pm? Oh, and don’t forget that time needed for homework!!!  I know that I am not the ONLY Mom out there that thinks like this, am I???

This year, we, as family members in the business, are going to be blogging for the Bishop’s Blog on our website.   Each week we will each take a turn to start, holding each other accountable for writing about something that will hopefully catch the attention of our customers and readers.  You may not be able to relate to all of us, but hopefully at least one of us does!

Keith and Jonathan Bishop are Co-CEO’s and Cousins.  They are 5th generation Bishop’s.  They have been around for a while and will most likely write on more topics that relate to the Farm, the history, the change in times… or something completely different.  Then there is the 6th Generation.   That is where my sister Carrie and I come in.  We are both Full time working moms, I have two elementary aged children, and Carrie has a toddler.  We both volunteer our time with different organizations in town and on the Shoreline and are trying to juggle many balls in the air, as so many women our age do.  With that said, you will most likely get very different topics from us and we will most likely hit a different demographic for readers.

So why do I mention this? This blog is to hold us accountable!  This means that I have no excuse not to plan what I am going to write about or hopefully make for dinner.  I want to share these ideas with all of you, so that you too might find some tips and good ideas on how to make your life a little easier (maybe?)!  We can do this together!

I will be posting easy meal ideas, ideas for kids lunches, new products in our market that you will want to give a try, events here or in and around the shoreline, and that’s just the short list.  I will try my best to keep you engaged and wanting more!  I encourage your feedback and questions.  You can always leave your comments in the comments field below, or email me directly at

I look forward to connecting with you!

Vision for Generations

gratitudeMONTH_22I recently had my annual eye exam.  Yes, I’m getting older and my vision has continued to change since my first pair of glasses at age 20. Very gradual changes, yet my progressive lens prescription gets tweaked to compensate based upon my eye exam.  Surprise! this time my change was to decrease the strength by .25 Diopters. Despite that, I still need to lower or remove my glasses when I get really close when fixing something on the farm.

That got me pondering when glasses help and when they don’t.   When is it we see more clearly? With or without? Translate that to our family farm business… when is it we need new glasses aka vision?  We established our latest vision statement in 2010, and it has continued to guide our family and staff. Each year how we execute gets tweaked, just like my glasses, but the framework is solid.

Bishop’s Orchards Vision

Preserve and enhance the value of the land for current and future generations and provide exceptional products and services to our customers that emphasize “family, food, and recreation.”

Future generations.  In 2009, the first child of G7 (Generation7 since founding the farm in 1871) arrived, followed by the 2nd and 3rd in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Daughters Sarah and Carrie in G6 (mothers of the aforementioned children) are working full time in the family business. Ideas abound, changes are constantly underfoot and adaptation continues to occur, just as Bishop’s Orchards Vision directs us.

Family, Food and Recreation can be substituted with  Relationships, Nutrition and Fun.  Our goals are to intertwine these in every visit to Bishop’s Orchards. A glimpse thru your eyes and the postings on #pickbishops and our Facebook page reflect this happening.

I’m proud of our work, our staff’s responsiveness to our customers and community, and in turn, of their reciprocal support of our family farm. As G6 continues to be a more integral part of managing our family business, it is also important to thank the 248 individuals who worked on the Bishop’s Team for part or all of 2015 to get our jobs done. My vision upon starting full time work on the farm in 1977 after college was to continue the family farm, but not the scope of what it is today.

Our farm is continuing to deepen our roots, knowing that we must focus on our core, yet be nimble to grow and prune as the world around adapts and challenges each of us.   Helping our customers know more about our food, wellness and food safety is part of our vision. We’re also continuing to adapt and responsibly use our resources.  By mid February, we will invest $100K in energy efficient upgrades to help reduce our carbon footprint in cooperation with the Small Business Energy Advantage Program. New lighting, motors and display case doors will be installed. Stop by or check in on Facebook to see our changes.
I hope you’re thinking about your vision. Our eyes must be open to observe, sometimes needing a new prescription so our minds can focus on what we take for granted.  Let’s use that knowledge to enhance our lives together for our future generations.