Pork with a side of pumpkins

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:  meg@bpfarm.info.

From Pumpkins to Almonds

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!


Happy Spring!


Soon to be almonds! Blooms going to be tested for fertility photo2