Events

From Bishop Kids programs to fun nights out at our Paint-and-Sip, there’s always something going on at Bishop’s Orchards. Our popular, annual events include the Shoreline Wine Festival (did someone say food trucks?!) and themed corn maze. Check out our events calendar and plan ahead — don’t miss a thing!

Pick your own

For generations, Bishop’s Orchards takes pride in growing the highest quality produce, from our family to yours. Throughout the growing season, join us for a unique and family-friendly experience on our heritage farm. From asparagus to pumpkins, and everything in between, we are one-stop-fresh for all your pick-your-own needs.

It’s Grilling Time!

Now that it’s summer, it’s finally time to dust off that grill and get cooking! Make Bishop’s your one stop shop this year for all your grilling necessities! We supply everything that you need for your summer night BBQ. From fresh produce to hot dog and hamburger buns, we have you covered. We are excited to announce that our delicious Bishop’s own prepared grilled meals are back in the market! These grilled meals are sure to please, and come with everything that you need to make a wonderful dinner!

This year we have worked hard on our recipes, and have selected five great options for you to enjoy. Each tasty meal features a different flavor profile, and is sealed in an airtight bag. Cooking instructions are found on the back of the bag, making it quick and easy to grill at home. Meal portions typically feed between 2-4 people.

Our Grilled Meals

Tequila Blood Orange Pork Loin– This meal is fun and unique. Delicious pork loin and fresh cut blood oranges are marinated in a blend of tequila, garlic, parsley, chipotle powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil! Looking to add more? Pick up some potatoes and grill them for a yummy side dish!

Apple Balsamic Chicken- Looking for something classic and healthy? Try this meal. Boneless chicken thighs are marinated in chicken broth, our own apple cider, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme and garlic! Grab some fresh zucchini from the market, and grill them for a great tasty vegetable side.

Autumn Apple Chicken- You may recognize this meal from our winter crock pot selection. It is so popular that we decided to make it in to a grilled meal! This dish has a bunch of tasty flavors all in one marinade. Boneless chicken thighs and fresh cut apples are mixed with our own apple cider, BBQ sauce, olive oil, honey, garlic, onions, salt and pepper. This meal pairs well with Bishop’s hard cider. If you haven’t had a chance to try our hard cider yet, stop on by for a tasting.

Orange Cilantro Chicken– This recipe is perfect for the summer because the chicken is marinated in orange and lime juice. It also includes cilantro, salt, oregano, and jalapeño. What an interesting combo! Compliment this dinner with some fresh Bishop’s own asparagus. Coat the asparagus with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and grill it.

Grilled Steak Marinade – No summer BBQ is complete until you add steak! This meal features high quality flank steak marinated in soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, basil, parsley and black pepper. Grill up some red and green peppers to go with it.

 

With all of these options available, make it your goal this summer to try each one! Also check back because we are always coming up with new ideas, and we may just add more grilled meals to our menu! As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments, so stop by and let us know how you are enjoying these meals!

Making Our Mark

February 5, 2018 was a day that was “history making” in the then 147 years (now 148) of Bishop’s Orchards being in business. While it wasn’t a day that was record setting in sales, or a new business venture for our evolving farm and market, it was a day when the 6th Generation females in the business were promoted to Executive Leaderships roles in the company. The key word in that sentence is “females.” For the last 5 generations, all Executive roles were held by Bishop Men.  While there have been other Bishop women that have played important roles in the business, never has the company been run by them.

The 5th Generation Co-CEO’s of Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery transitioned their leadership and daily operations to the two of us, sisters, of the 6th generation of family members. Sarah Bishop DellaVentura and Carrie Bishop Healy were promoted to be the company’s Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer respectively.  Both of us grew up in the family business, working alongside our parents, Keith & Debbie in numerous roles starting during our teenage years (at least that’s when we first received a legal paycheck).

Growing up in the family business may have looked differently to us than it did to the previous generations. We were always around and seeing different aspects as our parents and grandparents all worked in the business, but we weren’t necessarily doing the “hard labor” on the farm that Keith (our father) and Jonathan (our second cousin – once removed) did growing up. Being part of 4 siblings we all had our different strengths and interests, and we never felt pressured to join the business.

We both chose our own paths after high school and we ultimately ended back in the business. Coming from different backgrounds in degree choices in college and previous work experience (which is required before joining the business full time) allows us to have different areas of focus in the business. It strengthens the company and ourselves to be able to come from different sides, but at the end of the day we balance each other to do what is best.

We have watched this business evolve over the years in the hands of previous generations and we take pride in continuing what they have built. We have committed ourselves to the business, as well as our staff and the community. As a family business, six generations in, we want to continue to carry on the business and stewardship for future generations to come with the same high reputation and regard and expanding on the areas that complement the business.

We look forward to communicating with all of you in the months to come about new initiatives and exciting projects we are working on, our community relations, as well as interesting stories that we think you might enjoy reading about.  We love hearing from our customers too; We encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us!

We thought we would leave you with a couple clues to some upcoming news we will be sharing with you in the coming weeks… Clue one has to do with plastic bags, and Clue two has to do with a sweet treat!  Stay tuned!

Thank you for your Patronage!

Sarah Bishop DellaVentura and Carrie Bishop Healy

All Things Local & Fresh!

We have officially begun the start of our peak season here at Bishop’s Orchards. Spring represents growth on the farm, with an abundance of locally grown produce making its way into the farm market. We LOVE this time of year when picking fresh is easier than ever! Whether it be Bishop’s own produce, picking your own, or from other local farms, this time of year is only the beginning of what’s to come!

Strawberry season is right around the corner and perfect for families to enjoy once school is out! Our strawberries always signify the start of our Pick Your Own season here at Bishop’s Orchards. Strawberry season, though short and quick, is highly anticipated because these berries are delicious and juicy! Whether you are picking some up in the farm market or picking your own in the fields, there is nothing fresher! Generally, strawberries are available in the farm market early June, with the pick your own fields opening mid-June. Mark your calendars for a day of fun, taking your family and friends out to the pick your own fields!

Right now, we have a limited supply of our popular Bishop’s Asparagus, which we expect to have for another three weeks. Also, our Herb Plants are continuously coming in from the greenhouse. Currently we have basil, flat parsley, dill, thyme, cilantro & rosemary. Soft grounds from all the rain, make this the perfect time for planting these plants in your own garden! Local spinach from Anderson Farms in Wethersfield is available in the farm market. This family farm has been around since 1856. They grow around thirty different fruits and vegetables that they distribute all over the state. Local tomatoes from March Farms in Bethlehem will be making their way into the farm market soon. March Farms has been around since 1915 with about 130 acres and dozens of greenhouses.

Keep an eye out for more locally grown produce coming into the Farm Market. For a line-up on what more you can expect from this year’s pick your own schedule, visit our website!

 

 

Update from the Winery

We’re in the midst of working with over 15 batches of fruit fermenting from last year’s crops, racking and preparing for blending and bottling. It’s exciting because we have several out of stock popular wines that will be re-released in June, like our Double Gold Winner Rubus’ Nightfall, Hyland Red (both made with our own raspberries), Crimson Rose, Whitfield’s Pearadox and Strawberry Delight.  Plan a visit to our wine bar soon to check out these wines!

For those of you who like a refreshing Sparkling Wine, we are in the formulation and label approval process with TTB for a Strawberry Wine blend, made with our own strawberries. This will complement our other sparkling products, Rubus’ Nightfall, Sachem’s Twilight and Hard Ciders.

Speaking of Hard Ciders, stay tuned as we are preparing for a mid-summer launch of several new hard ciders, to be released in cans. Our constant desire to be ‘greener’ means a shift to aluminum cans from bottles for our most popular ciders, as they are much more easily recycled and less bulky. Thimble Island Brewery in Branford started having our Hard Cider on tap in October, and we will be expanding our on-tap locations as our production capacity allows.  Remember, our Hard Ciders and Wines are made with Gluten free ingredients.

Did you know that our Hard Cider is truly local, fresh and all fruit based?  Its 100% fresh apple cider, fermented in batches of 200 to 500 gallons, using multiple yeast strains, then blended together for the desired flavor profiles.  We do not use concentrates, flavorings or dilute the cider.  It is then aged for 3 to 12 months to further develop its character.  Many non-farm based Cideries buy juice or concentrate as they need it made with cull apples, (‘dessert’ varieties packed for supermarket shelves) that do not have the flavor profiles to make a rich flavorful hard cider. Our blends are heavy on varieties including IdaRed, Stayman, Golden Delicious and Jonagold, with less known varieties like Baldwin, Russet, plus culls from our packing line.

Mike Costa joined us an Assistant Winemaker last fall and I’m pleased to have his talents working to grow our offerings and keep a watchful eye on quality that is driven by excellent sanitation procedures.

Finally, I would be remiss to reflect that work on legislative issues to support and protect agriculture have also kept me busy.  As the final weeks of the CT Legislature’s 2019 session are upon us, we still have major work to fine tune HB 647 regarding liquor permits and sales, and not have other bills put undue burdens on small businesses, including farmers like us.  Your support for our business is appreciated and supports our managing over 300 acres of land.

Look forward to seeing you on our farm, Keith Bishop

Lots of Changes on the Farm

The most important time of year for a farmer is spring. Grounds have thawed out, rain has been pouring in, and temperatures are finally rising!! A lot is going on this time of year, but there is of course some obstacles to overcome. This year the rain has been even more than usual, creating difficult conditions on the farm as we are trying to get work done. With brief openings from the rain, we had some time to lay plant biodegradable plastic. Planting on biodegradable plastic makes weeds less of an issue, we can run drip irrigation tubing under it, is easy to transplant into, and it breaks down at the end of the season, sometimes before we would like. We have planted Carrots, Swiss Chard, Beets, and new to us, Spigiarello Broccoli. Weeds are a constant problem with direct seeded crops, so we need to be diligent and keep them under control. Plastic will be used for crops that can be started in the greenhouse and transplanted. Some crops don’t transplant well (see economics) so those are direct seeded.

At the end of April, we began to harvest asparagus. Asparagus has a very finite harvest season. Seven weeks is the harvest period from when the first spears are cut, to the last. Weather plays a great role in the production. In cooler weather like we have been experiencing intermittently, asparagus doesn’t grow very quickly. Right now, we are cutting 175-200 pounds a day off of two acres. It must be cut every day regardless of how much is cut. In warmer weather, we cut 300-350 pounds a day. This crop is the only one that we raise, where production is most affected by the weather (excluding hail or natural disasters). We hope to continue harvesting asparagus through to mid-June.

A lot of change is happening in our greenhouse. We produce about 100,000 transplants out of the greenhouses.  Our vegetable transplants are produced on a schedule so they go out in good, warm weather, usually after mid/late May to mid-June. However, not all of the transplants are for vegetable crops. Flowers are a big part of our transplants grown too. The bouquets sold in the store and for our CSA program are produced from these transplants. So, when you see a sign over tomatoes, squash, flowers or maybe cucamelons, that says “Bishop’s Own” you will know that it was started by seed on the farm, grown on the farm and traveled only a short distance to you at the store. Our greenhouses are getting quite full, with mother nature not much help. Even with the best planning, Mother Nature always manages to get the last say.  This can make a full house even fuller when transplants are ready to go but excessive rain and cold tells you otherwise. Potted herbs were transplanted in March so that they could make their debut by the beginning of May.  To keep the plants in the store until early September we seed every 10-14 days.

We had a nice peach bloom and hopefully a nice set (pollination). In peaches, it’s better to have too many blossoms than too few to assure proper fruit spacing, but it also means we will have a lot of thinning to do. Thinning is required to get fruit size, balance the crop load, and minimize the potential for broken limbs. We tell our help that you want fruit about six inches apart. Assume each peach is 2.5-3 inches we would maximize fruit spacing. A branch that is 24 inches long could theoretically hold four Peaches. Peach thinning, done when they are the size of an adult’s thumb, is very time consuming, and can take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to do a tree. That makes thinning very expensive, but since spacing is critical, hand thinning is the best way.

When we plant a new block of trees it will take three to four years to get a viable crop, so to help cover the cost we will, where we can, inter-plant Strawberries. Strawberries will only produce economically three or sometimes four years, so it is the perfect crop to plant every other row in a new peach block. When we finish harvesting the berries this June, we will take the pants out and plant grass in the middle. Strawberry blossoms are in and so far, it is looking to be a promising season. We hope to have our own strawberries in the farm market early to mid-June, and available for pick your own at the end of June.

New Dessert!

After a very long winter, it is safe to say that spring has sprung.  Trees are starting to blossom all around us, plants are sprouting, animals are raising their young, and winter coats are being put away! Spring is a wonderful time for Bishop’s, because it gives us a chance to not only grow our own fruit for picking, but to also grow our inventory here at the store!  We have been busy revamping our dessert case and have given it a new home, with more space, so that we can grow the department further. The dessert case is home to many favorites such as cupcakes, whoopie pies, edible cookie dough, cakes, mini chocolate éclairs, various cake squares, dessert bombs and much more! We are always looking for great things to add, and this spring we are proud to introduce our new homemade cheesecakes!

In late 2018, we added a very talented pastry chef to our team. She has years of training and is extremely passionate about her work. She has many projects planned for the upcoming season, starting with her own handmade cheesecakes. These are made with fresh ingredients, and a lot of time and effort is put into each one. Currently she has created recipes for three different cheesecakes; New York Style, Strawberry and Reese Peanut Butter. All cakes are 10 inches, so there is plenty to share.

A New York style cheesecake is known for its rich, sweet flavor. Ours is baked in a graham cracker crust, and made with cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, eggs and vanilla which creates a smooth, creamy consistency, and delicious flavor. The base is the same for our strawberry cheesecake, but strawberry preserve is added, giving the cake a wonderful fruity flavor.

Our Reese’s peanut butter cheesecake is made with an Oreo pie crust, and has the right balance of both chocolate and peanut butter. It features whipped chocolate, peanut butter, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. It is full of flavor and currently a staff favorite.

All three of these cheesecakes are definitely worth a try. They are perfect for any occasion, and are made fresh throughout the week. We plan on adding more, so come on down and tell us what you think, and let us know what other flavors you would like to see.  

Where is Michaela as we begin to graft?!

We are at a disadvantage even more this Spring due to the short-term loss of Michaele, our small fruits and vegetable manager, who had back surgery last week. She will be a huge miss for us as we get going, but she is doing well and we hope to have her back in a month or so. I do hope she has that hearing checked though. She will be pleased that we got the first plants in the ground today. The ground was dry enough to work so we laid down some biodegradable plastic yesterday and put the peas in today.  It doesn’t look like much but we put in 5900 plants by hand. What is really impressive is that three guys transplanted those in three hours. She will be pleased that we got the first plants in the ground last week. The ground was dry enough to work so we laid down some biodegradable plastic yesterday and put the peas in today.  It doesn’t look like much but we put in 5900 plants by hand. What is really impressive is that three guys transplanted those in three hours (that’s not a typo). We are doing more grafting this year, and it is a time consuming job. There is a narrow window of time to get the grafting done. It starts when the sap begins to flow in the spring, but ends before the trees grow vegetation or green tissue, leaves, shoots, etc. After that point the grafts will not take because the sap flow becomes too heavy. The type of grafting we do is called bark grafting. The tree we want to graft onto is cut down as low as possible while leaving a couple of side branches, which are also cut to stubs. One limb must be left to allow for photosynthesis. Once the tree is cut, we insert the scion wood (shoots of the desired variety that we cut during the winter) of the variety we want to have. Each scion wood shoot is cut to three buds, wedged at the end, and then inserted into a cut made in the bark of the tree. The goal is to get the cambium layers – which are between the bark and the hardwood to match and the cells start to grow together.  After the scion wood is inserted, we paint it with a tree paint to keep it from drying out.

We have always done a little grafting each year with a lot of success. Usually we do it to replace a variety we have too much of or to add variety to a pick-your-own block. To me, the key to success is not just the correct timing, but that we make sure the paint is thoroughly applied so the grafts do not dry out. Then, periodically, we must repeat paint applications. If we don’t, the paint will crack and allow for the graft to dry before it heals over. If the grafts dry out, the grafts will not take. These trees are what we would call “third leaf” which means they will be going into their third growing season. We will harvest some apples from those trees this year. We must be careful though, because over-cropping might cause some of the branches to break at the graft union. That union will continue to strengthen with time where breakage will no longer be an issue.

Deer can also be a problem as they LOVE to eat the tender shoots of the young grafts. A solution, and you can do this to any plant deer like to munch, is to  tie a couple of small but pungent soap bars on the grafts. This usually will keep the deer from eating the young shoots. Blueberry Gall has been a serious problem the last few years. The female lays her egg under the stem, which swells and grows the gall. To combat this, we remove all the prunings from the field brush where they are then taken away and chopped. We remove and chop it as far away as possible to remove Blueberry Stem Gall Wasps that may be left in the cuttings. We will also walk the fields before pruning to try to cut out as many as we can get. It seems odd, but it’s hard to focus on getting the gall and prune at the same time so we do the separate hunt. The Gall Wasp can cause significant damage, but oddly only effect certain, mostly, later varieties. The best control comes from physically cutting the galls from the plant. Removing them by hand and then carrying all the prunings from the field is labor intensive, but field sanitation is the best control. Above is a picture of a successful gall hunt.

Easter Essentials

It’s almost Spring, which not only means warmer weather (YAY), but that Easter is on the way! It’s time for family and  friends to gather together in joy and celebration!  In addition to spending time with loved ones, many of us find ourselves looking forward to the food and drink as well. Maybe you are hosting and have no idea what you want to serve. Or maybe you are stuck on what to bring to your Easter event. We are here to help with some awesome ideas including  great non meat options for Lent. Wow your guests with some of these great products. Whatever you are looking for, we have you covered.

Featured Non Meat Meals

We have many non meat meals available in the market for Lent. It was hard to narrow down just a few to  feature, but we did it! Here are four popular non meat options, brought to you by our own Chef Michael!

Linguini and Clams– This  delicious and filling dinner is comprised of linguini, chopped clams, grape tomatoes,  lemon juice, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Shrimp Chiffa Amarillo -A new featured item for Lent from Chef Michael. It is a Peruvian Chinese fusion dish made with shrimp, seasoned Spanish rice, peppers, bean sprouts , and Zocalo sauce (comprised of  aji amarillo chili, goldenberry, onion, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, passionfruit, seasalt, black mint, oregano, black pepper, aji ayucllo chili, and citric acid). It is unique and worth a try!

Stuffed Shells – These are perfect for even the pickiest eaters!  They are traditional pasta shells filled with ricotta cheese and spices, and topped with mozzarella , marinara sauce and parsley. They are loved by both adults and children!

Eggplant Parmesan– This is a great veggie option, and very similar to chicken parm- minus the chicken! It features yummy breaded eggplant, and is topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese!

All of these entrees come in microwave safe containers. Just remove the plastic lid and heat. This makes clean up a breeze!

Wine

What should you offer adults to drink on Easter? Or bring with you to your Easter celebration?  We have selected semi dry, semi sweet and sweet beverage options, so try one or all three! These also pair well with the cheeses mentioned below.

Semi Dry Selection: Celebration  (Perfect for your own celebration like the name suggests!) is a semi dry apple wine made from our own apples.  

Semi Sweet Selection: Our semi sweet pick is also our newest hard cider, called Crosby Black Currant. It’s a semi sweet hard apple cider with black currants.  It is very unique and has both a wine and cider taste. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, now is the perfect time!

Sweet Selection: Apple Raspberry Blush is a sweet wine made with our own apples and raspberries perfectly blended to balance their taste.

 

Cheese  

There are so many different types of amazing  cheese in the world, why not select a few for an Easter cheese board?  We tasked our talented cheese monger, Max to select four different options that pair well together and are great for Easter! They complement each other on a cheeseboard, and also go well  different foods. Try:

  1. Lamb Chopper from Cypress Grove, a pasteurized Sheep’s Milk that makes a great grilled cheese and tastes delicious melted with mushrooms and polenta. It has a smooth pleasing texture and is only aged three months.
  2. Bucherondin from Sevre Belle, a pasteurized goat’s milk which goes great on a salad. It is known for having a thick cheesecake like consistency. It has a mild goat flavor, and finishes with a lemony flavor.
  3. Seahive Cheddar from Beehive Cheeses, a pasteurized cow’s milk that pairs well with fresh fruit such as apples, berries or pears. It is hard rubbed with honey and Redmond RedSalt, which gives it both a sweet and salty taste.
  4. Great Hill Blue from Great Hill Dairy, a raw cow’s milk, is great with pears, red grapes and crackers. It is a fully flavored and smooth tasting cheese.

 

Featured Dinner Idea

Aren’t sure what to make for dinner? This year, how about serving a traditional, delicious ham for Easter, complete with potatoes and asparagus for sides?  

We will have our apple wood smoked half hams from Boars Head available in the market for Easter.  They come packed full of great flavor, so you don’t need to add anything , unless you want to! Then grab some asparagus from our produce section.  (We patiently are awaiting for our own asparagus to be available in the market. There is a small chance we may have it for Easter, but this is completely dependent on warmer weather). Asparagus is a great healthy low fat addition to your Easter dinner. It’s low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and K.  There are so many different things that you can do with it, and you can feel good knowing you are eating something tasty yet healthy.  Try tossing asparagus with some olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper before serving for great added flavor.

For your second side, select some of our potatoes!  There are so many ways to prepare them, the possibilities are endless.  In fact, check out this awesome recipe. This family favorite side-dish combines potatoes, cheese, and onions. For a different take, use cream of mushroom soup instead of chicken bouillon.

POTATO ONION SUPREME

INGREDIENTS

   Makes 8 Servings                    

  • 50 pounds Potatoes
  • 2 Onions
  • 0.25 cups Water
  • 2 tablespoons Chicken Bouillon Granules
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 0.75 cups Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • Dash of Paprika

DIRECTIONS

Cook potatoes; peel and slice ¼ in thick. Set aside. Place onions, water and bouillon in a saucepan; bring to a boil, then simmer 5-7 minutes or until onions are tender. Drain and set aside. Combine cheese and sour cream. In a greased 2-1/2 qt baking dish, layer half the potatoes, onions and cheese mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Combine crumbs and butter; top potato mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and several onion rings, if desired. 

Dessert

The bakery produces so many wonderful treats to make your dessert truly stand out. Our staff pick for a great Easter pie is our Apple Raspberry pie! This pie combines apples and raspberries under one flaky delectable crust. It also pairs wonderfully with our own Apple Raspberry Blush wine.

We are excited to once again have our hot cross buns in the market! We only carry them for Easter, so come get some before they are gone! A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made traditionally with currants or raisins. Ours are made with raisins and candied orange peels, making them a little more unique. They are then topped with crosses of vanilla icing, and can be served hot or cold. Try cutting them in half and adding butter, for even more flavor!

 

Hopefully these ideas relieve some of the holiday stress, and will leave you with lots of time to relax! Make Bishop’s your one stop shop destination this year for all of your holiday needs. From the whole Bishop’s staff and family to yours, we wish you a Happy Easter!