Events & Pick Your Own.

Whether it be pick your own or evenings at the NEW Little Red Barn, we provide year round and seasonal events that bring you out to the farm. Enjoy the best we have to offer from agritainment, wines, hard cider and picked by you fruit. There is farm, family fun for all ages to keep coming back for more!

It’s worth it.

It’s worth it.

Our COVID year put us all on detours and altered our planned destinations. While we have all had significant disruption this past year of COVID and are thankfully returning to a safer, new normal, our children have faced enormous changes in the educational process at all levels. For some it’s a building year that has moved them ahead. For many more the disruption means falling farther behind in productive learning, with the costs accruing to our society in untold ways.

Locally we have many support opportunities for those in need. Two non profits in our area which our family is proud to support are the Woman and Family Life Center and the Guilford DAY initiative, “It’s Worth It”.  Bishop’s round up campaign this month benefits the latter. 

Guilford D.A.Y. (Developmental Assets for Youth) is a community coalition focused on encouraging youth to make positive choices and look to their parents and other adults as role models. Volunteers come from the Guilford community, including parents, youth, community leaders, law enforcement, and other sectors.  Ultimately, D.A.Y. works to reduce high-risk behaviors such as underage drinking and other illicit youth substance use and provides our youth with the opportunities, skills and values they need to grow into healthy caring and responsible adults. 

The Women & Family Life Center provides resources and education for women and all families in crisis. “The Center provides services to our shoreline community that simply can’t be found anywhere else,” said Liza Petra, Executive Director of the Guilford Foundation “and their programs ensure that families facing their most difficult times are met with kindness and the help they need.” 

As we continue to exit from a year of stress and adaptation,  please remember those who struggled and are scarred from the ordeals they faced. As you garden, walk, run, sit or enjoy the outdoors, think of youth and families who have needed and been supported by these organizations and donate to our round up campaign to assist them.  It’s worth it.

Back to 1916: Bishop’s First Tractor

Bishop’s first tractor was an International Harvester 1916 Mogul 8-16. This one cylinder, 5000 pound, metal wheeled 8 HP kerosene powered tractor cost $675.  Young Charles Remington Bishop, age 18, posed for this photo during a break from plowing part of the 14 acre field which we still farm 150 years later. This field is on Dunk Rock Rd adjacent to ‘Bishop’s Ice Pond’ where ice was harvested until the 1938 Hurricane destroyed the Ice House. 6 Generations later on this same land, and 13 generations since John Bishop arrived with Rev. Henry Whitfield and settled Guilford, we’re proud to be stewards of this land where today we grow raspberries, asparagus and a wide variety of vegetables. The Mogul tractor and it’s implements to prep our land are long gone, but not our drive and zeal to farm our land.

While a relatively large farm in CT, we are small by comparison to our farming friends outside of New England. We use a variety of methods to enhance conservation and minimize wind and water erosion.  For most vegetables, we rototill, then create a ‘plant-bed’ by laying down biodegradable plastic with drip-tube irrigation under the plastic to deliver water to the root zone. This uses less water than overhead irrigation, saving pumping energy, labor and money. Another technique we use is a hillside cultivator for strawberries, raspberries and vegetables pictured here. Land on slopes is rarely disturbed, and done in strips so sod remains between the rows where we will be planting young trees.  Soil loss occurs when it is embedded in the leaves and roots of harvested plants, tracked away by equipment and humans, or carried away by wind and rain. 

Add Being Late to a Mother’s To-Do List

In the spirit of the busy life a working mother has these days and the lack of hours in a day to sometimes accomplish the always expanding to-do list, this email turned into a “Flashback Friday” instead of a “Throwback Thursday.”

A picture can be worth a thousand words, especially one with such important individuals. For those of you who do not know these family members, from left to right are: Barbara Bishop (my grandmother and wife of 4th Generation member Al Bishop), Arthur Bishop (3rd Generation – my great-grandfather), and Diane Bishop van der Grinten (my aunt – 5th Generation).  This photo was taken while family and staff were celebrating Arthur’s birthday around 1980.  Barbara, my grandmother, would ALWAYS make the time to bake a cake for everyone’s birthday, her father-in-law being no exception! Whether in the breakroom at the farm, Arthur’s office or back home with family, baking was always her favorite thing to do! Her handwritten recipe cards have all been computerized and imported onto our website’s ‘Bishop’s Cookbook’, as well as recipes that still to this day, are used in our Kitchen and Bakery. Barbara’s Blueberry Buckle is still a #1 seller and a dessert very well known throughout the shoreline, and personally my favorite, right after her raspberry pie!

Earth Day, Orchards and Carbon Sequestration, Hiking the Town Boundary

“Focus Keith!”  I’m on the move, always another challenge to distract me and learn! So how do I succinctly tie in all the ideas filling my mind for Earth Day #51 in 2021?

I’m staying close to home, minimizing my use of hydrocarbons, savoring the power produced by our farm’s 1,489 solar panels as well as the 39 panels on my own home. I recently went to check on our peach trees which are now in full bloom, as well as the apple trees which are currently at the ‘green tip stage.’  I brought along our new Beagle rescue, Nettie, who loves roaming the orchards, sniffing around, but unaware of the beauty above. Heavily weighing on my mind is the hope that no late spring freezes devastate the buds or the blossoms in the next month. As I look at the view from the orchard ~300 feet above Long Island Sound, I can make out the Long Island shoreline “cliffs” at Suffolk 25 miles away to the south, Bluff Head 6 miles away to the North… and thousands of acres in between. I’ve hiked most of the trails in Guilford, and am thankful for those that make this access possible, especially the Guilford Land Conservation Trust.

1965’s First Land Trust Donation

As our family celebrates 150 years of ‘growing’ in Guilford on the same home farm, and 14 generations later since 1639 when John Bishop signed the Guilford Covenant with other families who fled from the Church of England, I reflect upon a similar stewardship to land and our town bestowed by the Guilford Land Conservation Trust. GLCT has had a warm spot in the Bishop family ever since its inception in 1965. Albert Bishop was on the first Board of Directors and Gene Bishop was instrumental as a member of the Conservation Commission in starting GLCT.

The first property acquired and preserved by GLCT was donated by the Bishop family: 3rd generation members Arthur and Charles, along with Albert and Gene of the 4th generation. The 2.2 acre salt marsh donated had been in the family since 1871. Historically almost every farm had a portion of salt meadow that came with the original division of land in the 1600’s. This was because of the high value of weed-free salt marsh hay that was harvested from the marshes within the estuaries that were used on the farms. A history of local salt marsh usage and their importance is another involved topic for another time.

Past GLCT Presidents (left to right): Richard Curtiss, Clark Binkley, Carolie Evans, Ben Bullard, Dick Whitehead and Keith Bishop. Photo taken 1989

Past GLCT Presidents (left to right): Richard Curtiss, Clark Binkley, Carolie Evans, Ben Bullard, Dick Whitehead and Keith Bishop. Photo taken 1989

In October 28, 1965, the Shore Line Times front page lead article proclaimed the family donation to the newly formed GLCT. I confess I was only 10 years old when GLCT was formed and I didn’t learn or grasp the significance till my teenage years.

Au Naturale Egg Decorating

With spring season blooming, Easter is just around the corner! It’s time to say goodbye to harsh colorants and synthetic dyes, and create Easter egg decorating memories with ingredients right from our farm market—or your kitchen! Follow along as we use fruits, vegetables and spices to show the power of natural dyes and provide a safe alternative for Easter traditions. Prepare your eggs ahead of time by hard boiling them in a large saucepan, filled with cool water. Slowly bring it to boil on medium heat. Once the water has boiled, cover the pot and turn off the heat. After letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, move your eggs into a strainer and run them under cold water for one minute.

Choose Your Colors Based on Food Item:

Red Beets = Red/Pink Dye

Turmeric, Yellow Onion Skins or Carrots = Orange/Yellow Dye

Spinach or Green Apple Peel = Green Dye

Red Cabbage or Blueberries = Blue Dye

Raspberries or Blackberries = Pink/Purple Dye

Prepare Your Dye

For fruits and vegetables, add ½ – 1 cup of them chopped, with 1 cup of water. Bring water and chopped veggies or fruits to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. For spices, use a 1:1 ratio of dried/powdered spice to water. For example, turmeric creates a vibrant yellow/orange color with 3 tbsp spice and 3 cups boiling water. Make sure spice powder is mixed well with hot water or the powder may settle at the bottom of your container. If this happens, stir dye a few times throughout the egg dying process. Remove pan from heat and let liquid dye cool to room temperature. Once cooled, use a strainer to pour liquid into mason jars or bowls, removing any food pieces. For a chunky, textured egg dye, leave food in containers. Food pieces give an awesome speckled appearance. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or cream of tartar into each bowl or jar of dye.

Add hard boiled eggs to the dyes by fully emerging. Use stickers, glitter and rubber bands to create patterns and festive decorations! Refrigerate eggs in containers for 12 to 48 hours depending on how vibrant you wish egg colors. When eggs are dry, remove rubber bands and decorative embellishments to see your creation! 

Throw Back Thursday: The STEM Life [part 2]

 “To Make the Best Better” is the 4-H motto,  with the 4-H Club pledge describing the action steps: “I pledge … My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service and My Health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”  Albert Bishop would have turned 90 this week, on the Ides of March, the 15th, a day after Pi Day. He lived 87 years, fulfilling the motto and pledge as an FFA and 4-H Club member and 4-H adult leader, serving and bettering our world. 

One of his legacies is forming the Apple Pi Robotics Team at Guilford High School in 2006. (the name symbolizing the farm, its bakery and math pi=3.14159167)  This STEM program enriches many facets of life, giving students new insights into the multifaceted world of robotics. As the only FIRST robotics team founded and continually sponsored by a farm, Al Bishop always described himself as the team’s catalyst; he was inspired to found Team 2067 after watching his grandson Seth’s participation in the Manchester NH Robotics program. Like many student team members, Seth formed a love of STEM that inspired his college choices and career, leading him to his work as an imagery analyst.  Read more on robotics in this previous post. My parents Al and Barb Bishop executed and delivered the 4-H pledge. Thanks to their hard work alongside other family members, our farm has made great strides to grow, survive and prosper in Guilford, adapting to the demands of the marketplace, size of the family and the crops we grow.

Throw Back Thursday: The STEM Life [part 1]

It’s March, and I’ve got Pi on my mind! From Pi Day (3/14) to the infinitesimal 3.14159156+, or Mom’s super delicious apple pie, I’m led back to my father Al Bishop, and his founding of the High School’s Apple Pi Robotics Team in 2006. March is when the annual competition schedule starts, closely coinciding with Pi Day. I’m ready to support the team in a new way, in memory of Dad, and invite you to help our youth and STEM education too! 

Let’s cut to the core. I was fascinated at 10 when Gemini IV astronaut Edward White made the first U.S. spacewalk. Fast forward 50 years.  With inspiration from his grandson Seth’s robotics competitions in New Hampshire, 4th generation Al Bishop was the catalyst to form  the first ever robotics program in Guilford. The team competes annually in the International FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Program Competitions with the help of key local sponsors like Page Hardware and Bishop’s Orchards among others.

As program founder Dean Kamen said “FIRST is more than robots. The robots are a vehicle for students to learn life skills. Kids often come in not knowing what to expect – of the program nor of themselves.”  The end result is new passion in our youth– for a multitude of aspects they are immersed into by the team’s activities.   Apple Pi has become known for its dedication to youth education, cruise nights, and community service. This cycle is boundless. Community service has included Rabies Clinics, Chick Days, robot demos for adults and children, putting on elementary school workshops, building planters for Guilford Senior Housing and fundraising for Parkinson’s disease medical research. This all supports the primary focus of heightening local awareness for the wonder and potential of STEM. 

Featured Personality: JB Woods

Just as the business is constantly evolving, so is our staff! This month we welcomed our NEW Grocery Manager, JB Woods. JB was born and raised in Hamden CT until the age of 10, when he moved to Wallingford. An only child, he graduated from Lyman Hall High School in 2005, with 4 years completed in the FFA program. After high school, JB went to Southern Connecticut State University for two years with a focus in elementary education. He is also a certified firefighter and completed his FF1 certification. JB married his wife Heather in 2016, and other Lyman Hall graduate, and shortly after got their first child, an Alaskan Klee Kai (miniature husky) named Thor. About a year later, they had their son Eli at 30 weeks. Eli was in the NICU for 59 days, becoming  a strong little warrior who continues to surprise them.

JB had been with Stop and Shop since he was 17 years old, starting as a bagger and cart collector. Within 2 years he was promoted to full time 3-12 in grocery. Throughout his 15 years with Stop and Shop he has learned the retail business from the ground up. Positions he has had are Dairy Manager, Frozen Foods Manager, GM and HBC clerk, receiver, Grocery assistant, Grocery manager. He eventually made his way to upper management where he became an Assistant store manager. “As an assistant store manager I became an inventory specialist and went to become a store manager in reserve running stores when store managers were out,” explains JB.

Here at Bishop’s. JB will be overseeing grocery, dairy, frozen, cheese, florist and meat. His past professional experience, positivity, and enthusiasm will make him a great new addition to the team. “I am excited to be part of the Bishop’s Orchards family and grow stronger in my position as the grocery manager. I look forward to building strong work relationships with the staff and using my knowledge and expertise to help benefit the company.” With his knowledge in the industry, JB hopes to bring an overall better flow to the sales floor and helping to make it easier and more convenient for our customers to shop. “I hope to make Bishop’s more efficient with ordering and increase product availability for customers.”

Outside of work, JB enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, and spending time with his family. In the last few years, he joined The Run 169 Town Society whose goal is to run a race in each town of CT, totaling 169 towns. Currently he has completed 74 towns. Family time has been spent in Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, and Florida where his parents have recently retired too. Music is a big part of his life, knowing how to play 4 instruments. His son shares in his love of music and he cannot wait to teach him how to play an instrument one day.