Coastal Connecticut Cornell Club: Bishop’s Orchards and Annual Club Meeting
May 21, 2017 @ 1:00 pm
Join the Coastal Connecticut Cornell Club for a tour of Bishop’s Orchards and our annual meeting.
Date: Sunday, May 21, 2017
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Bishop’s Orchards
1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT 06437
Cost: $5.00, Free for kids 16 and under
Our CCCC event will begin at 1 PM with a tractor wagon ride for both kids and adults through one of the business’s Orchards at 526 New England Road, approximately 3 miles from the store. Then we’ll drive back in our cars to the main complex, which comprises the market, winery, and offices. Here, Keith Bishop, Co-CEO of Bishop’s Orchards, will take us on a tour of the winemaking facility followed by wine tasting. Cider and snacks will be provided to those under 21. Llamas, alpacas, and goats are also on-site for the kids to visit as well as G Scale Model Trains running inside the Market on over 400 ft of track.
At 3:30, Caroline Wetzel, CCCC’s President, will convene the Club’s Annual Meeting in the conference room above the Store for all members and their families and guests, who wish to attend.
There is a charge of $5.00 per person (children 16 and under free), which will be graciously donated by Keith and the Orchards to Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Scholarship Fund. All in all, a fun and educational day. Hope you can attend.
More about Keith Bishop and the Orchards:
The Bishop farm was started in 1871 by Walter Goodrich Bishop, although Bishop family roots in Guilford, Connecticut date back to the founding of the town in 1639. Even at the beginning, the farm specialized in vegetables along with dairy and ice. The business has grown over the last 145 years spanning seven generations of family to what it is now, Bishop’s Orchards, Farm Market, and Winery, one of Connecticut’s premier agricultural businesses, situated on over 300 acres of land.
The 1960’s brought a small seasonal market which has expanded into a modern, large farm market featuring their own crops and known for its ultra fresh fruits and vegetables along with dairy, meats, prepared foods, and a bakery. In 1977, fifth generation Keith Bishop, our host for the day, joined the business after graduating Cornell with a B.S. in Farm Business Management. Keith’s brothers, Craig and David, also Cornellians, have worked on the farm along the way. Keith and his cousin, Jonathan, are current Co-CEO’s, and two of his four children, Sarah (Marketing Director) and Carrie (Accounting Manager), work full time in the business, as the 6th generation succession planning moves along. The business is one of Guilford’s largest employers.
In 2005, the farm ventured into new waters—wine, specifically, fruit wine—apple, peach, pear, strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry, along with various combination blends. The wine is produced on site, and Keith oversees the process as the Orchard’s Winemaker. See the scope of the current business.
Keith’s vision is that of sustaining Bishop’s Orchards based on excellent service to customers delivered via a trained, dedicated staff along with quality products and marketing. This combination has made Bishop’s Orchards a premier Agri-tourism business in CT. As a member of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association’s Executive Committee, Keith played a key role in the analysis and recommendations in the May, 2016 purchase of CFBA’s new building. The family is a member of the University of New Hampshire Center for Family Business, which has strengthened their succession planning. His newest venture is revitalizing Killingworth Cranberries, a 100+ year old bog started and operated by the Evarts family, which is Connecticut’s only cranberry bog. The renovation and replanting of 3 acres will have fresh, local CT Grown Killingworth Cranberries in major production by 2018.
Keith is Winemaker at Bishop’s Orchards Winery, which he established in 2005. He has made and released over 18 wines and ciders produced from fruit grown on their farm, and started making Hard Cider in 2009. Keith completed the Cider and Perry Academy’s “Cider Production – Building Expertise” Class in December 2011 at Cornell. More farm wine and cider products are in the development phase. Bishop’s Orchards is one of 24 Farm Wineries on the CT Wine Trail, a venture that expands the use of their own farm products, consistent with their family mission statement. Keith is an ardent supporter of agriculture at the local, state and national level. He strives to improve the industry, provide a safe, abundant food supply, and promote and protect agriculture and family farms.