There's plenty to like about living in Guilford, Connecticut, as the town has a nice mix of open spaces, forests, beaches, trails, and restaurants.
Farming is a prevalent industry in Guilford, as well, and Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery is one of the most significant.
This large farm, which has multiple locations in Guilford and neighboring Northford, grows various fruits and vegetables in the summer and operates a year-round farmer's market, too.
Once you live in Guilford, Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery is sure to become one of your go-to stops when searching for the freshest produce available.
About the Farm
Bishop's Orchards has a tradition going back about 150 years, as Walter Bishop purchased the original 52-acre site in 1871. The farm has expanded significantly since those early days; it's now over 300 acres but remains under Bishop family ownership. Today, the farm is large enough to offer wholesale produce to markets all over New England and even into New York state.
There's also a CSA box available at the farm. Through this program, you'll pay upfront for a share of the farm's harvest. From there, you'll pick up a box of whatever is in season every week between early June and the end of October.
At the Market
Although the CSA is convenient, you don't have to sign up for a box to access the great produce and grocery items available at Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery. That's because, as previously mentioned, the farm has a shop that is open throughout the year.
This market enjoys a convenient location on Boston Post Road and has everything you'd expect to find at a local market, including potatoes, carrots, lettuce, apples, raspberries, and strawberries. There's also a selection of beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and lamb, in addition to milk, eggs, cheese, and honey. The farm even has an on-site bakery, allowing you to avoid the grocery store and stock up on everything you need.
As a bonus, the Bishop's Orchards Creamery is open throughout the summer, right at the market. That means you can grab some fresh ice cream or a sundae to enjoy right at the shop or buy a pint to take home with you.
The market tends to get busy in the summer because there's so much available. Get there early on weekends to avoid the crowds.
Pick Your Own Fruit
One of the best reasons to visit Bishop's Orchard is to participate in their u-pick opportunities. However, you should know that since the farm spreads out over multiple locations, it can get a little confusing.
On weekends, you'll likely visit the farm's fields on New England Road. This location has apples, peaches, pears, blueberries, and strawberries that you can pick yourself and pay for as you're leaving. There's a corn maze at this venue, too.
However, during the week, you'll head to their farm Long Hill Road to pick apples, peaches, and strawberries. This farm is right behind the market, making it the easiest one to find.
If you're looking to pick raspberries, there's a third location on Dunk Rock Road that you'll have to visit. The raspberry farm is only a few blocks from the farmer's market, so it's relatively easy to find, as well.
U-pick fruit means getting the freshest berries, apples, peaches, and pears around and allows you to select as much or as little as you wish. It's an excellent option for kids, too, as they love walking through the farm and picking for themselves.
Wine and Cider
By now, you've probably noticed that Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery has the word "winery" right in the name and want more information.
Well, it's true; the farm has an operational winery that uses the farm's fruit.
Available varieties include various pear, apple, raspberry, peach, strawberry, and blueberry wines, each with a unique combination of fruits that create one-of-a-kind flavors for you to enjoy. They also do some sparkling wines if you're looking for a local alternative to champagne when celebrating a special event.
Wine isn't the only thing they ferment at Bishop's, as they also have a selection of ciders. All of these ciders use apples, but you'll also find some varieties integrating black currents and berries.
The winery is right at the market, so you can stop in for a tasting while buying your groceries. You can also grab a few bottles to take home with you. Bishop's cider is on-tap at Thimble Island Brewery in Branford, too.
Reaching Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery's main venue is straightforward, as it's on the north side of downtown Guilford between Water Street and the I-95. The market is walkable from many locations in Guilford but has a large parking lot if you choose to drive.
The other locations are a little more remote but have landmarks to guide you. The raspberry field is just west of AW Cox Elementary School, and the primary u-pick location is just north of Guilford High School. The parking situation at these venues is slightly different, so you'll want to follow the signs. Keep in mind that u-pick is only available in the summer.
Guilford, Connecticut, is a fantastic place to raise a family because its proximity to larger centers like New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford means you can use their amenities. Still, it's remote enough that you don't have to worry about big-city problems.
All of this comes together to create one of the most idyllic small towns on the Connecticut Shoreline.