Everyone’s Favorite is Back!!

It is officially everyone’s favorite time of the year! Fall is here and the farm is so excited! Pears and apples are currently being picked, with our Pumpkin Patch now also being open. While pumpkin picking has just started, pear picking will be coming to an end by early October. Pears are being picked on weekends when we are at our Main Orchard off of New England Road. Pears being picked include Bosc and limited Bartlett. Our pears come in various sizes, shapes and colors. Bartlett’s are generally juicy, sweet and excellent for eating, canning and cooking. Bosc pears are crisp with a rougher skin and best for eating and cooking. Pears actually ripen best off the tree so you want to make sure you pick them when they are mature but not ripe. Make sure to store your pears at room temperature as they will ripen in a few days.

Overall the start of Apple Picking has been slow, with varieties available to pick being approximately a week behind. Apple picking is everyday with field locations in Guilford changing, and our Northford Orchard available for apple picking on weekends only. This past weekend we were finally able to open our fan favorite Macoun Apples for Pick Your Own. Other apples that have been available are Daybreak Fuji, Cortland, Autumn Gala, McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious. We grow approximately 20 varieties, carrying the season through late October. With all our apple varieties, you are sure to find something that suits all your needs, whether it be for cooking, gifts, or a quick snack on the go!

Apples will keep for months if you store them properly, so make sure to stock up!  Inspect all apples for bruises, cuts, and soft spots. Only perfect fruit is suitable for storage. Sort the apples by size: small, medium and large. Since large apples don’t store as well, this will make it easy to ensure that they get eaten first. It’s also a good idea to sort your apples by variety. Different apples ripen at different rates, so if you store each variety separately, it’ll be easy to eat the early ripeners first, while saving the slow ripeners for later. Place the sorted apples in boxes or baskets. To maximize their storage life, wrap each apple in newspaper before you place it in the basket. If one apple goes bad, the paper will protect the other apples from coming into contact with it. Store your apples in a cool basement, garage, shed, fruit cellar or refrigerator. Check regularly for signs of spoilage, and remove any rotten apples before they have a chance to spoil the lot. If you follow these instructions you will most definitely be able to enjoy using these apples for homemade desserts for Thanksgiving! We have plenty of recipes online so check out our Bishop’s Cookbook. Here are a few favorites:

Apple Skillet Pancake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 apples
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 3 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss apples with sugar. Reserve. Melt the butter in a 9” or 10” cast iron skillet and remove from heat. Beat eggs and milk in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Combine cornmeal, flour and salt in a separate bowl and whisk in egg/milk mixture until smooth. Put skillet back on heat and sauté the apples in the remaining butter. After 2 or 3 minutes, before they get mushy, spread the apples evenly in the pan and gently pour on the batter. Put skillet in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and puffy. Loosen with a spatula and invert onto an ovenproof platter. Sprinkle with grated Light Cheddar Cheese and return to oven to melt.

Apple, Sausage & Parsnip Stuffing with Fresh Sage

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ pounds Italian sausage
  • 6 cups onions
  • 2 cups celery
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 3 pounds apples
  • ¾ cup sage
  • 1 ½ pounds sourdough bread
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 pounds parsnips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake bread cubes on 2 large rimmed baking sheets until lightly toasted, about 20 minutes. Sauté sausages in very large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking into pieces with spoon, about 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl; add bread. Add onions and celery to same skillet and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes; transfer to bowl with bread. Melt 1/4 cup butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes; mix apples into stuffing. Melt 1/4 cup butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add parsnips and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes; mix into stuffing. Melt 1/4 cup butter in same skillet. Add sage and sauté until dark green, about 2 minutes. Mix sage and butter into stuffing. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Stuff turkey. Transfer remaining stuffing to prepared dish; drizzle with 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cover with foil. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake stuffing covered until heated through, about 1 hour. Uncover and bake until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Pear Crumble Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 7 cups pears
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cups butter

DIRECTIONS:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and the lemon peel.  In a large bowl sprinkle pears with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture to pears; toss to coat fruit.  Fill a pastry lined 9 inch pie plate with the pear mixture. To make topping combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar and spices.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over pear filling. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Remove foil, bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until pie is bubbly and crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Fundraising Opportunities

The fall season brings more to Bishop’s than just apples, pumpkins and cooler temperatures. It brings a time for giving and outreach to the community. Here at Bishop’s Orchards we proudly participate in and support local non-profit charities, schools and other organizations with fundraising needs! Our Pie Fundraiser Program is simple and a great opportunity to come together and raise money.  You can think of this program as if it were a Bake Sale! Purchase your items through us at a discounted price and then sell at a suggested price.

We offer a wide selection of our pies from the farm (baked fresh or frozen), cream pies, tea breads and cookie dough! Apple pie, fruits of the farm, pecan, banana cream… you name it! There is a minimum of 50 pies to participate in this program, an easily met goal by all. For most fundraisers, we suggest doing frozen pies due to freshness factor and having a more flexible pick-up schedule. You are going to want to set-up a cutoff date for incoming orders, so make sure to leave a few extra days to collect and calculate everything. All orders must be placed with Bishop’s Orchards at least 14 days prior to your pick date.

A 50% down payment is due when you place your order, with the remaining balance due upon pick up. Pies are individually packed in pie containers for freshness and protection. Baking instructions are included on each label and pies must be kept frozen until ready to bake. All tea breads are fresh but can be frozen. The cookie dough comes preformed and prepacked with 24 to a container. Nutritional information for our items is available upon request. For more information or to get started, visit us online and download the forms!

FEATURED PERSONALITY – Jeremy Waldman

In 1998 Jeremy Waldman walked through Bishop’s Orchards’ doors at the age of 21. Previously he was working at Frank’s Nursery and Crafts in Branford, where he worked for Randy Perham, our current Grocery Team Manager. His youthful energy and charisma made him stand out and he quickly became part of the team. Who would have thought that Randy would be the one to hire Jeremy at both Frank’s Nursery and Bishop’s Orchards, and now having worked 20+ years together?! Over time Jeremy worked his way up within the Bishop’s rank. Being a utility player worked in his favor, landing him positions as the Assistant Produce Manager, Fresh Grocery Manager, Front End Supervisor and Assistant Store Manager. Jeremy’s current position is Market Team Manager, a title he has now held for 8+ years.

As the Market Team Manager, Jeremy is responsible for maintaining most of our staff. From hiring and training new employees, to keeping the current employees happy and safe, he is the Au Pair! “The one part of my job that I get a fair amount of joy out of is bringing in the new employees and really preparing them, I guess you could say, for the rest of their lives. Moreover, having somebody that you can see has some deficiencies, whether it be, their shy or their work habits aren’t great, being able to transform those employees in to active, productive team members, for me, that is the most important part of my job.”   

Jeremy acknowledges the fall season as the time of year when the most attention and accommodation is needed. There is a huge increase in foot traffic, which means there is a need for more employment than usual. The process of hiring new employees for the fall, begins in early August. Swamped with resumes and interviews, Jeremy’s biggest challenge that he faces is making sure to monitor the staff on a day to day basis, evaluating their work while also providing the affirmation to keep them happy and safe. There is nothing he loves more than finding employees that are looking to sink their roots into the company, furthering their growth both professionally and personally. “The business has already grown immensely since we started in 1871, but there is still plenty of room left to grown,” says Jeremy. “The potential to do other things is incredible, it just comes down to facilitating those means.”

Jeremy, alongside additional management staff, look forward to one day possibly incorporating a deli, outside ice cream stand or another expansion on the farm market. “There are so many things we do well and that we can continue to expound on. The team and support the company has right now, is making a huge difference and we are all excited to see the direction we are headed.”

Agritainment on the Farm

Put on your flannel and head out to Bishop’s Orchards for some Fall Family Fun!! Our fall “Agri-tainment” line-up is one of our most sought after experiences on the shoreline. From the pumpkin patch and pick your own, to the corn maze and the kids activities, we have it all!

The Corn Maze is always an exciting addition to the fall season and a must “SEA.” Two years ago we stepped it up by incorporating partnerships with other local businesses. This year we worked with  Mystic Aquarium to form our Beluga & Penguin Corn Maze theme!! Get lost while you enjoy interactive games and trivia, based on all things SEA! When you visit the corn maze you will also receive a coupon for a family of four towards your entrance fee to the Mystic Aquarium! The Corn Maze will be open on weekends through the end of October, from 10am-5pm and on Columbus Day. It is located at our Main Orchards at 480 New England Road in Guilford, approximately 2 ¾ miles from the Farm Market. The price is $7.00/person with children 2 and under free!

Amongst all our Pick Your Own varieties, a favorite is Pick Your Own Pumpkins at the Pumpkin and Little Red Barn!! A first sign that fall is here, the Pumpkin Patch has everything you need from fall decor, carving pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, fancy and ghost pumpkins! Admission into the Pumpkin Patch is FREE, with activities and food available at an additional cost. We have our Kids Activity Section with something for all ages; Hay Pyramid & Tunnel, Tractor Track, Corn Kingdom, Lawns Games and our NEW Apple Train (weekends and Columbus Day only). Joining our weekend and Columbus Day line-up is our Farm Fresh Food Truck and Bishop’s Concession Stand! Enjoy Bishop’s signature items like our maple kettle corn, ice cream, apple cider, donuts and more!! The Food Truck features some of Chef Michael’s homemade recipes, made specifically for the fall! Try a Poke Bowl, Fish Tacos, Harvest Wrap or the Balladino’s #4! Grilled Cheese, Hot Dogs and Burgers are available for simpler pallets, but you can dress them up with homemade toppings!

Starting October 6th, we will have the Community Dining Room here on weekends & Columbus Day from 10am-5pm, offering face painting, glitter tattoos and ceramic paint crafts. Proceeds from these activities go directly towards the Community Dining Room who is committed to feeding the hungry and helping with other basic human needs.

The Pumpkin Patch will close after October 31st. Hours are everyday, 9am-6pm, weather pending, and it is located next to our Farm Market, Exit 57 off I-95 on Route 1, 1355 Boston Post Road in Guilford. For more information on pricing, click here.

A NEW Generation!

As a family owned business, generational growth is a key component to our sustainability. Over the winter, a pivotal transition occurred here at Bishop’s Orchards. 6th generation family members Sarah Bishop DellaVentura and Carrie Bishop Healy were promoted and took over new roles as the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

Sarah has been with the company since 2007, where she started as the company’s Marketing Director and Pick-Your-Own Manager. Her background is in Business and Marketing, having worked for agencies in Boston and Fairfield County! As the new Chief Operations Officer, Sarah will oversee all Operations and Strategic Growth, both on the Retail and Farm side. Carrie moved back from Boston and joined the company in 2014.  She worked for seven years in corporate Accounting and Auditing for two different companies, prior to finally making the move back home. With her new position as the Chief Financial Officer, she will deal with the administrative side of the business, overseeing the Finance, HR and IT Departments.

Sarah and Carrie’s message to the business and community speaks volumes towards their hope for the company’s future:

“As members of the next generation stepping into this next level of leadership, we are excited for the future and what is to come. We have watched this business evolve over the years and we take pride in continuing what generations before us have built. We are committing ourselves to the business as well as each of you. As a family business, six generations in, we want to continue to carry on the business for future generations with the high reputation and regard that we always have both to our employees and community.”

Sarah and Carrie have exhibited dedication, hard work and growth in their time thus far in the family business. Their passion and vision for the farm and business mirror everything the business stands for… all things “family, food and recreation!” Bishop’s Orchards is sure to see exciting new things in the future, all of which will contribute to our growth and success within our community!

FEATURED PERSONALITY – RANDY PERHAM

Flowers, cheese, meats… you name it!!! A man of many traits, Randy Perham, the Grocery Team Manager at Bishop’s Orchards, manages the entire grocery department at the Farm Market! Coming to Bishop’s with a background is in Biochemistry from Cornell University, Randy has now been working in purchasing for 30 years, 10 with other various companies and 20+ at Bishop’s. Since his employment in 1998, he has had the pleasure of watching Bishop’s grow into what it is today!

On a day to day basis, Randy primarily deals with outside vendors, completing weekly orders for departments that include grocery, frozen foods, meat, cheese and floral department. One of Randy’s most important responsibility is studying food trends and bringing new items into the Farm Market. “As the company continues to grow, so does our product selection. With increased competition hitting closer to home now, it is mandatory for us to adapt and keep up with the ever so changing market. New items might only last a year because their product cycle is a lot faster. Items don’t have the same 5-10 year life span like they used to.”

In 2017 Randy introduced approximately 1,000 new products and is averaging roughly 80 items per month for 2018. When making the decision of what to bring in, he looks for the best quality items that are made with clean, all natural ingredients, while also having competitive pricing. There is a huge demand for locally grown items along the shoreline, so Randy tries to purchase from local businesses as often as possible. Another factor for bringing in new items is their uniqueness. “Two weeks ago we were eating goat cheese from Australia with green weaver ants! Where else can you find this rarity other than at Bishop’s?” Despite his busy schedule, Randy loves finding time to be on the retail floor, interacting with customers. “When I’m on the floor I enjoy talking with the customers and explaining to them the different foods and ingredients that Bishop’s has to offer. I enjoy helping customers find the perfect ingredients for that special family dinner.”

Randy’s long standing employment at Bishop’s Orchards comes with fond memories and standouts! One of his favorites… watching the people that he hired grow up and succeed at what they are doing. Whether it be at Bishop’s or somewhere else, it doesn’t matter, he enjoys watching them move up in the world. Two individuals stand out to him, Dana Howd our Administrative Assistant and Jeremy Waldman our Market Team Manager. These two employees he hired when they were 16, and has had the pleasure of watching them grow into their current positions!

Taking Over Pick-Your-Own!

Pick-Your-Own is NOW OPEN with 4 varieties for picking; Blueberries, Peaches, Raspberries and Apples! It has been an incredible year for our blueberry crop, never having lasted this long into August. By the end of this week picking will come to an end, but for the meantime, there are plenty of berries to be picked! Peaches opened up mid-August and have been maintaining sporadic hours up at our Main Orchard. Peaches are huge and super sweet… we couldn’t ask for anything more! Peach picking is a favorite on the shoreline, so you want to make sure you are handling and storing them correctly when you take them home. Make sure to spread them out as much as possible and check daily for final ripening. Peaches are perishable and need to be handled gently and kept from sunlight. They will not all necessarily ripen at once so keep your eye on them.

Raspberries have just opened up within the past week! Our raspberries are considered fall berries, becoming ripe in the late summer/early fall timeframe. Raspberry picking generally lasts until late October, with September being its peak time. There are many ways to use raspberries in salads, yogurt, juices, sauces and desserts! If storing fresh, we recommend using them within days of them being picked. For optimal freshness, keep raspberries dirty. If you introduce moisture to the berries, it will cause them to go downhill quickly. Only wash the amount of berries you plan to eat at the moment. Make sure to store raspberries dry and in a container in the fridge. Avoid keeping them in the coldest part of your fridge or in the crisper. The best place is where you will see them best, as to not forget them. Frozen raspberries will keep from 10-12 months!! If freezing, you can wash ahead of time, and then dry them laid out on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place them on a cookie sheet and pop them into your freezer to freeze until frozen. Once they are frozen, store in an airtight plastic zip bag or in a freezer-proof container. They will be great in smoothies, baked goods or on top of your morning yogurt or oatmeal.

Right now we only have one variety available for pick-your-own apples, Zestars. This is an early variety, with Ginger Gold and Paula Red two others not quite ready for pick-your-own, but available in the farm market. Shortly after Labor Day, more varieties will come available, including McIntosh, Gala, Crimson Crisp and everyone’s favorite… Macouns!! Always check out our Bishop’s Cookbook, featuring recipes that highlight our in season crops. Here are a few favorites:

Peach Sorbet

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds peaches
  • 1 ½ cups syrup
  • 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS:

Score bottom of peaches with an “X” and boil about 10 seconds in boiling water and peal off skin.  Remove peach pits and puree peaches in a food processor or blender. Pour puree into a bowl and stir in simple syrup and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust syrup or lemon juice to taste. Freeze in an ice cream maker using manufacturer’s instructions.

Raspberry Cobler

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 cups raspberries
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, and set mixture aside. Add raspberries, and toss gently to coat. Spoon raspberry mixture into a shallow 2 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add low fat buttermilk, tossing with a fork just until mixture forms a soft dough. Spoon dough into 8 mounds on top of raspberry mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Raspberry Apple Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package of 2 pie crusts
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups Zestar apples
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

Peel and cut apples into thin slices. Layer apple slices on bottom crust, then raspberries.  Mix sugar and flour or cornstarch and sprinkle over fruit. Cover with top crust. Seal edges by fluting, then brush the top of crust with milk or water.  Bake for 10 minutes at 425º then reduce to 350º for approximately 40 minutes. Cool on rack-serve cool.

 

High Quality Produce

What conditions constitute “high quality” produce? Let’s start with observing the perception of perfection and if perfection really matters when it comes to produce… or anything at all. Does high quality produce mean fruits and vegetables with no scratches or flaws? Does a high quality apple have a shiny skin? Or fancy packaging? No. It’s been suggested that perfection means high quality but perfection does not always apply to high quality produce. Simple, fresh and as nature intended is the best way to get the highest quality produce regardless of any imperfections. We have to remember that fruits and vegetables are meant to grow outside where they’re exposed to the elements of wind, sun, rain, variable temperatures and humidity. Here at Bishop’s Orchards we have our own locally grown produce. If you want the highest quality, pick Bishops because it will always be crisp, fresh, hydrated, juicy… and local of course! If it’s not home grown here on the orchard we choose as many products as possible from local sources, like spinach, corn and microgreens, just to name a few.

Let’s examine what makes an apple a “high quality” apple. When you go to your local chain supermarket, pick up an apple and give it a gentle squeeze (by the way, don’t ever do this with a peach). Does the skin on the apple wrinkle slightly? If so, that’s because it’s an older apple that’s becoming dehydrated most likely from being in too cool temperatures for too long. Our cooler at Bishop’s Orchards runs cool enough that it keeps the produce fresh but not so cold that the foods start to dehydrate. Another misconception about apples is that shiny skin means high quality and perfect. The shiny coating on an apple in a conventional supermarket is a wax layer that is added to make the apple shiny the way we want our cars to shine… but who wants to eat an apple that tastes like wax?  Our apples are not shiny but that’s what actually makes them perfect and high quality, just as nature intended.

Remember to be mindful about how to store your produce to keep them “perfect” and extend the quality for as long as possible. On your next visit to the Farm Market take a look at the “Garden to Table” fresh storage guidelines posted in the produce section. It will give you the best instructions on which items are best kept at room temperature or in the fridge in addition to washing instructions.

Shoreline Wine Festival Coming Soon!!

It’s that time of year again when the wine is pouring, music is playing, and the food trucks are lined up!!! Bishop’s Orchards is less than a month away from hosting their 12th Annual 2018 Shoreline Wine Festival! August 11th and 12th  is your chance to celebrate fine wines from Connecticut Wineries and Vineyards from all over the state. The festival is hosted & sponsored by Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery in Guilford, CT, bringing close to 3,000 attendees over the weekend. Other wineries participating in this year’s festival include Hopkins Vineyard, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Jones Family Farm Winery, Paradise Hills Vineyard, Sunset Meadow Vineyards, and Taylor Brooke Winery.  Enjoy our featured wineries from around the state, all offering their fine wines that range from grape wines to fruit wines.

This festival has grown triple the size from its first year, now hosting around forty vendors and seven to eight food trucks. One of the many benefits for attendees at the Shoreline Wine Festival is that all wine that is sampled by the vineyards at the Festival are available for sale that weekend to take home with you. This is something that many festivals do not and cannot offer. This two day festival is a ticketed event that affords you the opportunity to taste the wines from all of the wineries, enjoy a tour of the Bishop’s Orchards Winery, live music and entertainment, and a chance to visit with local vendors and artisans.  Food offered at the event is from our eclectic food truck line, at an additional charge. Food trucks will include tacos, steamed burgers, lobster rolls, BBQ, grilled cheese, mac n cheese, fresh squeezed lemonade, Italian cuisine and pizza.

Vendors attending the event range from home remodeling and renovation companies, to olive oil, hand painted wine glasses, clothes and accessories and more!! Pair this with fine food, the backdrop setting of a beautiful farm orchard and background sounds of tasteful music to put you in a relaxing mood. Entertainment is provided by Music in Motion DJ/MC services and renowned local band, “The Ticket.” This year’s festival could not happen if not for the support of our sponsors. Our sponsors brought in over $30K to help fund the event. Sponsorships include Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets, Foxon Soda, Mosaic, Proforma, Miranda Creative, WFSB/CBS, Shore Publishing, Old Amsterdam, Outfront Media, and Becker’s Jewelers.

Tickets for the event may be purchased ahead of time online and at Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market at a discounted rate. Prices for tickets are $30 for Adults, $60 for VIP, and $10 for Designated Driver Tickets. Starting August 4th and at the festival gates, ticket prices will go up for Adult and VIP tickets. Entrance into the festival, as well as a tasting ticket, wine glass and attendee gift bag are all included in an Adult Ticket. In addition to the previously mentioned, the VIP tickets also include two “wine by the glasses” tickets, access into the VIP tent (refreshments and lounge), Clinton Crossing Premium Outlet Gift Bags and a free bottle of wine, pre-determined by the hosting winery. Foxon Soda is our Designated Driver Sponsor, giving soda and water free of charge to all DD ticket holders. The hours of the event are Saturday, Aug. 11th, 12 pm – 7 pm and Sunday, Aug. 12th, 12 pm – 6 pm. For more information visit our website at www.shorelinewinefestival.com.

Featured Personality – Russ Geary

Who isn’t a sucker for love stories?!! At Bishop’s we don’t prohibit dating amongst co-workers because we are a family run business. You never know when cupid might strike you! Yes, it maybe just be a bee sting in the orchard, but sometimes employees find love in the simplest of environments! Let us tell you about a love story from back in the day at Bishop’s Orchards. It all started in 1984…

As a young college student, he was doing what most kids his age were doing that summer, looking for a summer job! Between his kind heart and charm, he managed to land a position as a stock clerk for that summer. At first, Russ didn’t think he would be here long, but low and behold a beautiful young lady came walking in! Lisa was her name and boy was Russ smitten! Employee relationships have never been prohibited at Bishop’s, being a family owned business and all. So after 4 years of being at Bishop’s Orchards, Russ began dating Lisa! Hands down this has been his proudest moment at Bishop’s, now having been married to Lisa for ## years!! It all started with two employees in love and now many many years later, they are both STILL valued employees. They have two beautiful children, Rusty a certified accountant and Linnea a college student studying Pathology at UCONN.

Falling for Lisa wasn’t the only love Russ found. He fell in love with our family company, and seeing its growth throughout the years. Since then, Russ has been the Produce Team Manager here at Bishop’s, now going on 30 years! Russ enjoys engaging with the customers when he is on the floor. “One of the best parts of my job is interacting with the customers on the floor,” says Russ. “I sometimes see familiar faces that have been shopping at Bishop’s since I first started in 1984! Engaging with them makes me feel like our department is holding up to our company’s mission statement and making the customer’s happiness our number one priority.”

Russ’ day to day responsibilities are divided up into two sections; purchased produce and Bishop’s own produce. January through May is mainly focused on outsourced purchased produce. Then, once June hits, Bishop’s own produce, as well as other local farms’ produce, starts coming in. “This starts to be a very exciting time on the farm,” says Russ. “Some things you will see are berries and squash from our own farm field, as well as tomatoes, lettuce, corn and more from local farms like Anderson Farm, March Farms, and Cecarelli Farms.”

Multiple times a week, Russ is responsible for researching prices, placing all orders and checking inventory upon arrival in the Produce Department (bulk items included). “To help ensure our customers are getting the best and most fresh produce, we do an extensive quality control check. We have exceptional staff who goes through every pea pod, green bean, brussels sprouts… you name it! There is no “bad egg” to be found when you have this hands-on technique.” Russ expresses the importance of this process so the customers are getting the most for their money, with the quality they deserve.

As the business continues to grow, Russ hopes to see the Produce Department expand in many different ways. He sees the potential for our farm to increase available land made for produce that we currently grow. “At times some of our produce, such as our strawberries and blueberries, is limited during the early parts of their season. We then have to resort to purchasing from other farms to keep up with demand. It would be great to find more space for growing more, therefore increasing our on-hand supply for customers.”