Curbside to the Rescue!

After almost two years of playing it safe and avoiding COVID in our household, it finally happened! What has felt like the dreaded Scarlet Letter, we are now marked with the letter C! One of my daughters tested positive after showing symptoms for a couple days, but luckily no one else in our household has been affected, at least not with the virus (knock on wood)! So now quarantining and distance learning begin (again)! As all parents know, just distance learning alone is hard.  But now back to the home office I go, zooming, emailing, and working on projects, because I have a business to run and need to work too. All of this while managing my daughter to make sure that she is in the right class at the right time, and doing her work!  Oh, and switching the laundry or emptying the dishwasher during a quick break because I’m home and it’s not going to do itself.  

The funniest part of me working from home is turning my work phone on (so staff can dial my direct extension), and everyone in my daughters class on zoom hearing when someone has purchased a Wood Cart at the Farm Market because the page comes across in my home for a “Wood Cart Pick Up – Register 5”!  It’s the running joke in my house as to how many wood carts are purchased a day, or when someone is paged by name, like “JB to Customer Service”, everyone in my house starts calling out for JB!  

But through all of this, one of my own saving graces has been our Curbside Pickup that we initiated back in March of 2020 when this pandemic started.  Yes, I use our own service! Most “normal” days when I am at work, at the end of the day, you will catch me running down the stairs, scurrying through the store, shopping for dinner and school lunches… one of the conveniences of working in a “farm market.” But, there are times when I just don’t have the time to shop, even when running is involved!  Kids need to be picked up, brought from point A to point B, afterwork commitments and meetings… Life is just busy!  Being able to go to our online ordering and throw things into my cart, select a pick-up time and just swing in the parking lot to have my groceries brought out to me, it’s just so simple and a huge time-saver!  This week was no exception, especially since our household is now “exposed”. I placed my order earlier this week when I learned of our positive case, knowing that no one on our staff wanted me around them in fear that I could be positive too! I left my house, picked up my order, and I was back home in 15 minutes putting the groceries away and starting dinner.  

So parents (and busy adults), we get it, I get it!  Life is crazy and the times we are living in are crazier!  But we want you to know that we are here for you and want to make your life a little easier and more comfortable!  Whether you use our online shopping as a safety precaution, or just because there aren’t enough hours in the day, we want to help you out! I am living proof of the convenience for a multitude of reasons, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  If you haven’t tried the Curbside Experience, I urge you to! 


Stay Safe and Healthy!

Sarah Bishop DellaVentura

6th Generation

New Year, New Face

We are almost 3 weeks into the New Year and we are excited to start introducing some new faces! The business has been growing and so has the footprints! With the growth in production that our Kitchen and Bakery Department are seeing, it became time to give our Executive Chef Ian a helping hand!

Meet Kevin Wolcott, our new Sous Chef! Kevin is a CT native, growing up in East Haven. At a young age he knew that the culinary field was for him! Despite his first dish ever being an epic failure (New England Clam Chowder), he did not loose hope and continued to explore his passion through high school electives and after school jobs. Kevin went on to study at Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, graduating in 2005 with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. When asked why baking and pastry arts, he said “I didn’t want to stand in front of an oven all day and cook. I wanted something more challenging.” He compared baking and pastry art to science, but on the other hand, very calming and satisfying. “Main dishes and entrees are always evolving with changes able to be made up to the finished product,” says Kevin. “With baking, especially with pastries, it is a hurry up and wait. You can’t rush it, but are eager to see what the finished product is. Once something is in the oven, you can’t change it… all you can do is wait!”

Since his graduation, he has enjoyed working all over Connecticut with jobs at Mohegan Sun Casino, Take the Cake in Guilford, and Petonito’s Pastry and Cupcake Shoppe in East Haven. Now living in New Haven, he is excited to be back on the shoreline and a part of a business that he has known since a young age. He hopes to become an integral part of the Kitchen under Ian, as well as bringing his homemade baked goods and creations to our customers. “I have a toolbox in my mind where I can pull out the capability to do both sides of the culinary field,” says Kevin. “You need me to be a line cook?! You got it! You need a new dessert or to write new recipes, I’m there!”

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.

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.