Bishop’s Orchards Creamery features delicious flavors, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches and our specialty… the Bishop’s Blitz!!! Delicious and fun flavors for everyone include Sea Salt Caramel, Moose Tracks, Fly Fishing Fudge and Black Raspberry!! Specialty flavors for dietary needs are also available!
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!
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
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!
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
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.
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.
It’s always interesting when we make a change to the orchard by removing some of the trees. We get questions like why, what are you building, or to the extreme… are you going out of business? But the answer is very basic. All moves are part of a long term plan!
Many have noticed the trees we have taken out along Long Hill Road in a block visible from the store parking lot. We took out Jona Mac, Ida Reds, Braeburns and Macouns. The Macouns like to grow more wood than apples so they needed to eventually come out. The Ida Reds and Jona Macs were older strains of apples that have limited market desirability, so it was time for them as well. The Braeburns, although a crowd pleaser, were very weak due to the trees getting old. Think of it like spring cleaning where to make room for new and better “items,” you must weed out the old.
We are always assessing how the orchard is performing and what changes need to be made to keep the farm viable for decades to come. In that block we will be replanting Stayman, Fuji, Braeburn and perhaps some Granny Smith, an apple that will be new for us. We also took about an even bigger block up at our main orchards. This block will be replaced with a new planting of peaches and an early producing block of apples. Apples and peaches take three to four years to produce, so we always have to look ahead and plant varieties our customers want.
Do those long, cold winter nights leave you craving a hearty, delicious meal? No longer feel like spending lots of time preparing dinner? Have you had enough take out? Are you looking for something new and fresh? Then look no further. Come check out our brand new chicken pot pies!
Sadly, our beloved Aristocrat pot pies were discontinued in 2018. The owner retired and closed down his business. We are sad to see him go, but we wish him well with his future endeavors. Aristocrat pot pies were a household name for many, and sold at multiple locations. They will be missed throughout the community. They were a wonderful company and made a truly amazing product. We know that it will be tough not having them in our market.
Although we won’t be selling Aristocrat pies anymore, we have decided to take on the challenge of making a Bishop’s own version. Our very talented Chef Michael has been working hard on his own recipe, and plans to create a new favorite. He has made revisions along the way, accepting feedback from customers and staff. He continues to work very hard to make sure each pot pie is delicious, full of flavor and made with top quality ingredients.
Each pot pie features a flaky, buttery, irresistible crust, with pieces of chicken and thick, mouthwatering gravy inside. Looking for something other than just chicken? We also offer a pie that includes carrots, peas, onions, and celery in addition to chicken and gravy. We carry three sizes, 4, 6 and 9 inch pies. Pies are handmade fresh, put in our freezer section and wait for you to take them home. All they require is to be cooked in an oven. Cooking instructions are located on the label, making cooking them as easy as pie! We will be adding more varieties to our line, so make sure to check back soon!
More often than not, our outside employees tend to be behind the scenes, only making appearances when you drive along Long Hill Road and see them pruning. These staff members are the bread and butter to keep this business afloat! Longevity with these positions is a huge bonus, which brings us to a more recent young hire, 32 year old Ryan Sylvia!
Ryan came to Bishop’s in June of 2017, where he started, and continues to be, our Orchard Foreman. He grew up in Uncasville, CT and went to North Western Connecticut Community College. His story is quite unique in that he didn’t always work in the field he now does. Everything changed for him after he met his wife Blair in 2007. After dating and becoming engaged, his wife accepted a position in 2013 at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. The two of them picked up and moved, with Ryan starting a job at New England Village, a day program for adults with intellectual disabilities. You might ask where this story is going, but we promise… it will all tie together!
New England Village leases an 8 acre organic vegetable farm where its residents can work and enjoy aspects of a farm life. Ryan had started working on the farm with his crew, when he met what he calls his two mentors whom took him under their wing. “Beth and Janina showed me the basics of farming and more importantly, why we do things,” says Ryan. “There is a lot more to farming than just putting seeds into the ground, and watching them grow.” He had never thought that it would take him entering his late twenties, for him to realize his desire to be a farmer. “When you see someone take a bit of something you worked hard on, there is no greater love and satisfaction!”
Ryan and Blair got married and a few years later realized they wanted to move back to CT to be close to family. Bishop’s Orchards was his first job back in CT… and he hopes for it to be his last! “I feel like I fit in well at Bishop’s because family is such an important focus here.” Ryan’s responsibilities here change with the season. Winter through the end of March is our off season and when we are able to catch up and calm down a bit before peak season. “During this time we are pruning small fruits and apples. This involves trimming down trees so they do not overproduce,” says Ryan. “By creating space you are allowing more light to come in and hit the fruit in its best way.” Also during winter Ryan and other outside staff will attend conferences on beneficial topics for the upcoming season.
April will begin peak season here for our farmers, lasting through the end of October with them working six days a week, Monday through Saturday. During this time Ryan assists in getting crews out to their locations and integrating an infrastructure for farm irrigation and Integrated Pest Management. “We will go out and scout crops to see what pests are affecting or could affect crops. After this we determine a course of action. These days are long and hard but I love farming and when you love your job, it doesn’t feel like a job anymore!”
A typical New Englander, Ryan loves all sports especially his New England Patriots! His simple pleasures in life are really all he needs. Time spent with his nieces and soon to be nephew, craft beer and Boston sports… there isn’t much more than he could ever need!