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. 

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.

Holiday Traditions Baked Here!

It’s that time of year again when the holidays are quickly approaching and our lives become more chaotic each day! We are gearing up for Thanksgiving here at Bishop’s Orchards and that means delicious and freshly baked pies! Make Bishop’s a part of your holiday traditions with local flavor! We strive to make the holidays as convenient as possible by providing Grab N’ Go pie orders. No prep work or baking needed, simply order anything you want from fruit and nut pies, to cream and no sugar added pies.

Stay traditional with Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan pies, and then pack a punch with Crumb Pies and berry blends like our Fruits of the Farm! Cream pies are easy as well, and kids always love the custard/cream fillings. We have Key Lime, Chocolate Cream, Lemon Meringue and Banana Cream. Take them out to thaw an hour before you serve and scoop some Bishop’s own ice cream alongside! Also in the freezers are a few of our frozen fruit pies. Keep them in the freezer until the day of when you can bake it fresh and have the smell wafting through your home! No sugar added pies are available in a few of our popular flavors like Apple, Fruits of the Farm and Peach. Indulge during the holidays while refraining from non natural sugars.

New side dishes will be coming out from Chef Michael. These will include diced butternut squash, stuffing and cranberry sauce made from BISHOP’S OWN CRANBERRIES

from the bog in Killingworth. Seasonal flavors can be brought straight to your table without any work on your part!

All pies and side dishes are baked fresh daily thanks to our 24 hour Bakery Department. Planning for special holidays or events can be made simple by submitting your order online or by giving us a call at 203-453-2338!! Let us know your pick-up date/time so we can guarantee your items! As with every year, we look forward to being a part of your festival spreads with friends and family!

It’s Been a Busy Season…

With the farm in its busiest time of year, updates have been hard to gather. LOTS have been going on and as we move towards cooler temperatures, it is easier to reflect on this year’s harvest. Despite a miserable and wet spring/early summer, we ended up having a dry and cool summer and fall. At times this summer we wished it would rain, but we were able to manage. Peach season ended early October but boy were the flavors better than ever! With it being so cool this summer, we really didn’t expect the peaches to have as much as flavor as they did. Usually the best peaches come from hot summers, but that premise must be wrong because they were outstanding this year! 

Our main focus lately has been on the apples. Vegetables in the ground are mostly late season, so weeding and care for is less. Kale looked great and will be one of the items continued in our Fall CSA Program. Most of our late season crops we look to get in the ground around August first, to allow them to mature properly before cold sets in. 

Can you guess what this crop is?! It’s asparagus! Once spear cutting is done in the spring, the plant goes to “fern,” allowing the crown of the plant to continue to be healthy and variable for future years harvest. These ferns will die off with the frost and will be cleaned out of the field next spring before the next seasons spears grow.

Raspberries had quite the season with pick your own just now wrapping up. Even the rain/wind storm on 10/16 couldn’t stop it! It was the best raspberry year we have seen in a very long time. The cooler, drier weather that isn’t so favorable to summer crops like tomatoes, is just the kind of weather raspberries like. Brussel sprouts are now ready. They are one of those items you buy in the store and could not imagine what the plant looks like. This plant loses many of its leaves, but normally the large leaves block any view of the sprouts. Beets have been a rising favorite as more and more people are starting to give them a try. They are continuing to grow in the ground since they were planted later in August than originally planned. Beets will be incorporated into our Fall CSA Program as well.

Muy Caliente!!

July has been a month with lack of rain, but plentiful of crop! We were grateful to finally have some rain at the end of this month. Things were getting really dry and even the trees needed a good watering. Peaches especially need water and with the proper water timing, will size substantially a couple weeks before harvest. Peaches swell very quickly as we get closer to harvest, unlike apples which grow at a consistent rate. We are in the process of summer pruning our peach trees, which allows more sunlight into the tree, to the peaches, so that they can change from green to yellow with more color. We grow many varieties of peaches, with our earliest variety coming into the farm market within a week. As far as pick your own, we are looking at opening day more towards the beginning of August.

There have been an abundance of blueberries ripening due to the heat we have been experiencing. We have a really nice crop with pick your own in full swing. There are ample berries for both pick your own and the farm market, so come on out and get some! Raspberries are coming along well. We frequently get the question as to why we do not have them earlier in the year, more specifically in June. The reason is because our raspberries are considered “fall” berries. It really has nothing to do with the variety itself, but more about the way they are pruned. Most farms will alternate pruning canes, leaving some of last years canes. By doing this you get “summer” berries which are available sooner. Here at Bishop’s we cut our canes down to the ground in winter, leaving them to essentially start all over again and bring us later into the season. Our berries will start arriving into the farm market hopefully middle of August. 

We are planting caliente mustard. This is something we used to incorporate for an organic matter, as well as a natural fumigate to control soil bourne diseases and organisms. We have also begun renovating strawberries on the farm. Strawberries only have production profitability for 3-4 years, but every year you still need to mow the tops of the plants down, and then use a cultivator to cut and narrow the rows to maintain. Apples and pears are looking great for the fall season, we are just holding out for more rain from good ole’ mother nature! If you feel obliged, do a rain dance with Bishop’s Orchards in your thoughts!

Taste, Eat & Enjoy at the Shoreline Wine Festival!

August can be a dreaded month with heat waves and lack of rain, so here at Bishop’s we make sure to have something to look forward to!! The wine will be pouring August 10th & 11th at the 2019 13th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival! We are less than a month away from this two day festival, filled with delicious CT Wine, food trucks, live music and local artisans. Celebrate fine wines from Connecticut Wineries and Vineyards from all over the state with the backdrop of your host & sponsor, Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery in Guilford, CT. Other wineries participating in this year’s festival include Hopkins Vineyard, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Jones Family Farm Winery, Paradise Hills Vineyard, and Sunset Meadow Vineyards.  Enjoy fine wines that offer a range from grape wines to fruit wines.

This festival has grown quite a bit since 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 being sampled at the Festival, is also available for sale that weekend to take home with you. Enjoy a tour of the Bishop’s Orchards Winery while you listen to live music and entertainment. There are plenty of vendors to check out, specializing in jewelry, home improvement, pantry goods and more! Food offered at the event is from our food truck line, at an additional charge. Food trucks will include tacos, steamed burgers, steak sandwiches, gyros, farm to table and pizza.

Entertainment is provided by Music in Motion DJ/MC services and renowned local band, “Old Hickory Boys.” This year’s festival could not happen if not for the support of our sponsors. Our sponsors brought in over $20K to help fund the event. Sponsorships include Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets, Foxon Soda, Mosaic, Proforma, Miranda Creative, WTNH, and Shore Publishing.

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 and $10 for Designated Driver Tickets. Starting August 3rd and at the festival gates, Adult ticket prices will go up. Entrance into the festival, as well as a tasting ticket, wine glass and attendee gift bags are all included in an Adult Ticket. 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. 10th, 12 pm – 7 pm and Sunday, Aug. 11th, 12 pm – 6 pm. For more information visit our website at