The History of Bishop's Farm
1930s-Wayne & Dorothy Move West
In the mid 1930s, Wayne Bishop of Nebraska and Dorothy Pryer of Iowa graduated from the University of Nebraska and were married. Getting away from the dust bowl in the Midwest, they headed for California and within a few years, established a small dairy in Arboga.
1960s-A Second Generation Farm
Their middle son, Bill, and his wife Sandy (Mullins), took over the dairy in the early 1960s.
The farm which is now Bishop's was the Wild Rose Dairy in the first half of the 20th century. Bill and Sandy were attracted to the old barns and the large poplar trees lining the road, and purchased 40 acres and the farmstead.
Bill leased more acreage and planted corn, alfalfa and beans, but Sandy had other ideas. In 1973, she planted about an acre of pumpkins in a small field in front of the house and invited the local schools to come out on field trips. Sandy had been a teacher and she knew how much kids could learn from visiting a real farm. The pumpkins would just be an excuse to get the kids out.
The field trips proved popular, and Bill and Sandy soon learned that many of the kids wanted to bring their families back on the weekends. More and bigger pumpkins were planted the following year, and word was also getting around about the pumpkin pies that Sandy was baking in her kitchen.
An old farm wagon was put into service for hayrides, and the kids' ponies were saddled and tied to a tree for self-service pony rides. By this time, Bill and Sandy's sons Bruce and Wayne were 9 and 8 years-old, and were put into service driving the hayrides and pulling the jumbo pumpkins out of the field.
In 1988, Bruce graduated from college and returned to the farm with his wife Tracy to provide some much needed help. Six years later, Bruce decided to follow another career, and in the spring of 1995, Wayne an his wife Ann moved to the farm, along with their children Austin, Lee, and Meghan.
2004-Who We Are Today
In November, 2004, Bill retired, leaving management of the day-to-day operations to Wayne. Sandy had cut back her hours during the off season, but will still be there to manage her bakery in the fall.
Although none of the Bishops ever envisioned Bishop's Pumpkin Farm growing to its present size, they are still thrilled to be able to make a living in a way that is so enriching to other families as well as their own.