Wow, where has the year gone? This time of year are when things at the farm really start to ramp up. Hamburger Farm finished up a few weeks ago and it was a great success. Thank you to everyone that came to visit us! We are about two weeks away from putting our first pumpkin seeds in the ground, about a month away from planting the corn maze, and about a month away from starting to accept applications for employment this fall.
Most importantly we have an exciting project to tell you about. Last week we poured foundation on a new Barn! This barn will take the place of our pumpkin check-outs by the hayride. The space will be dedicated to displaying all of the beautiful pumpkins, gourds and squash along with some other great merchandise including home décor, food and of course all of your pumpkin carving necessities. It will also house an area for you to make your last minute bakeshop purchases, and grab a gallon of Apple Cider as you walk out the door. We hope that this barn will help make our pumpkin check-out area much easier to navigate, and provide customers with all of the great information you need on all of our specialty products.
We are very excited about this barn that has been in the plans for 6 years now! It always feels great when we are finally able to put together a plan that has been in the works for so long. More fun things to happen this year, stay tuned!
First off, I have to apologize to you all for my absence from the blog for the past couple of months. I told myself I would write at least once a month, and here I am two months later.
I will say, however, there is good reason for the delay. We just ended Hamburger Farm a few weeks ago and of course that kept us busy. But while all that was going on, construction on a new area at the farm has been in progress. For me personally, this is by far one of my favorite projects we’ve ever done. Now you may be surprised by this, because we have done quite a few really great things, but this one is particularly close to me. Back in December, as my family and I started planning my upcoming 4th of July wedding, my dad took me out to a spot on the farm that he had a vision for. We sat by one of the oldest oak trees on our farm and talked about what we could do to the area to create a beautiful spot for an outdoor ceremony location. Now, 6 months later, my father and brother are creating the wedding ceremony location of my dreams.
When I was growing up I never thought that I would be getting married on the farm, I wanted to be different I didn’t want to do what everyone assumed I would do. I realized though, that it wasn’t about what people assumed I would do, it was about getting married at a place that was my past and is now my future. Thanks to my dad’s ability to imagine magical landscapes, we are creating a venue that not just my fiancé and I will get to start our marriage at, but hopefully many others.
For those of you who follow our Facebook, you probably remember a post about our new wedding venue services. I am happy to say that this new ceremony location will be available in that package for everyone to enjoy. We haven’t decided exactly what we will do with the space in the fall time, but you will all get to enjoy its view if you take a ride on the train. If you are interested in using this space for your wedding, stay tuned for pictures coming to you after the 4th of July. 🙂 In the meantime, here are some construction pictures for you to see our work in progress.
Happy wedding planning!
This past winter, along with our venture into tree crops, we also made a return to our hog farming roots. When my grandparents first purchased the land Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm sits on, in 1971, my grandfather started raising hogs, just as his father and grandfather had done before him. He raised the heritage Poland China breed and my dad would later raise Chester Whites and Hampshires. Hog farming was a main contributor to my family’s rather modest livelihood into the early 1990s. By that time the infrastructure for commercial hog farming had essentially disappeared from Northern California, leaving just small specialty hog farmers. Fortunately for us, our pumpkin farm business had begun to take on a life of its own.
A meeting in the fall of 2014 has led to our return to the hog business. Darrel Corti, perhaps the leading authority on food in California, was touring our farm with my dad. Darrel asked the question that so many of you have asked before: “What do you do with all of the leftover pumpkins?” Dad explained that we used to feed them to our hogs, who did very well on them; but now most are just plowed under. Darrel halted the tour and insisted we get some feeder pigs and start supplementing their diet with pumpkins. He said he would love to have some of that pork to sell at his Corti Brothers Market in Sacramento. And so we did it!
The hogs have been raised in the pumpkin fields over the winter, fed normal hog feed but also taking the opportunity to eat lots of pumpkins (they especially love the seeds) and rooting around in the native grasses. We feel great about using our leftover crop in a sustainable way and are hoping to be able to grow our hog business over the next few years. The key for us will be in finding some more buyers. So far, we have provided pork to Corti Brothers Market, some fantastic Farm-to Fork dinners at Yuba Harvest, and private individuals. All who have tasted it say it has a wonderful unique flavor.
We have a limited number of hogs available for other buyers over the next few weeks. They will be sold at $2.99/pound for the pork from a whole hog (usually about 200 lbs), ready to cut and wrap; $3.49/lb if you would like just half. We will take care of delivery to any butcher shops within 50 miles of us. We do recommend Tootles in Marysville, they are great people that make a mean sausage! Give us a call if you are interested! (530) 633-2568, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While working on various projects in the last couple of weeks I have learned quite a bit about the history of farming in the Bishop family. My father often says one of the reasons you all can connect with us is because we are a farm first and foremost. The majority of Americans are only one or two generations removed from a farm. This may imply that all of us have some innate desire to be on a farm at one point or another. Recently my family has gotten a new spark in our farming passion with the addition of a new crop. As of January 21st of this year we are now the farmers of 25 acres of almonds.
For over 100 years the Bishop family has been farming in the United States. We have had everything thing from hogs, to dairies, to a variety of field crops along with pumpkins, of course. While my dad, Wayne, has a small bit of experience with tree crops from his high school working days, we are going into the almond crop as fresh new farmers. It has been such a learning experience and we have so far enjoyed all of it!
You will be able to get a taste of our almonds this fall season. We will be roasting a handful of our crop in a variety of spices that we will be packaging and selling right here on the farm! The recipes and details are still being sorted out, but we will be sure to update you all as we progress with this new project.
Since we are talking about almonds, we should probably talk about how it’s pronounced. So here’s my take for what it’s worth. It depends on the following things:
-Where are you from? North of Wheatland? Near the Fresno area? Then you most likely pronounce it AlMonds (like salmon).
-Are you a general consumer with no connections to an almond farmer? Then you most likely say ALLmond.
-Are you a farmer of tree crops? You say AlMond don’t you?
-Do you just buy the nut because you think they are healthy and delicious? Do you say ALLmond?
So to summarize, if you are a farmer or originally from an area that grows the nut then you most likely say almond (like salmon). However, if you are a consumer and not near an area known for them, then you most likely say aLLmond. Or you can just go with the old fashion farmer’s saying “It’s aLLmond on the tree and alMond on the ground ‘cause it got the L knocked out it!”. You choose. 🙂
Stay tuned for more updates on our tree crop adventures along with other happenings at the farm!
Hi Friends and Family,
Welcome to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm’s new blog!
My name is Meghan Bishop and I am the granddaughter and daughter of BPF co-owners Bill & Sandy and Wayne & Ann Bishop, respectively. Here are some things you can expect from our blog:
-Updates on happenings at our farm and with the Bishop family
-Guest blogs from members of the Bishop family
-Educational blogs about our community, agriculture or other things that pop up in current events
We are starting this blog for many reasons, but our main purpose is to further connect our family with yours, our customer family. So often we overhear or see on Facebook our customers wondering why we do something a certain way or what is coming for the new season. We hope that this blog can connect you to all to us, for us to express some of our motives and to share the history and future of our farm. As I mentioned, my name is Meghan and I will be one of the main authors of our blog. I have been back at my family’s farm full time for about 6 months now and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my young life already. Some of you may remember reading my articles in our Vine Line every year and kind of following my journey in our family business. Now I hope to really give you an insight to who we are. I came back to the business for many reasons, but my main reason was to be near my family again and to start my own family here in this quaint small town of Wheatland. After spending 4 years away at college and a year in the Bay Area for a produce brokering job, I came to appreciate everything this area had to offer for me and more importantly everything that the farm could provide for me and my future family. So here I am, ready to open our doors to you all on a year-round basis. I hope you all enjoy our writings, and please feel free to suggest anything you would like to hear us write about!
Just a few of the things to look forward to:
-From Pumpkins to Almonds
-Pork with a side of Pumpkin
-Say Yes to the Venue!