It all began in 1919 when Charles Frederick Fifer moved his family from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to the fertile lands of Kent County Delaware pursuing his passion to grow high quality fruits and vegetables. The moderate climate and hearty well draining soil of this agriculturally rich region provided ideal conditions for growing a diverse mix of fruits and vegetables including: peaches, pears, grapes, apples, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, lima beans, asparagus, strawberries and more. Charles began with 300 acres of land and a belief in crop diversification, farmland stewardship and growing high quality produce. He understood that farming is inherently a gamble and that having all your eggs in one basket can lead to disaster. His vision was accurate and this philosophy is what has enabled the farm to weather many storms and challenges over the last 95+ years.
1890’s – Delaware was the #1 peach growing state during this era. Peaches were shipped via boat from Delaware City, DE to New Jersey and New York, NY.
Did you know? The Delaware state flower is the peach blossom
Early 1900’s – ‘Peach yellows’ devastates the peach growers in Delaware. This disease spread quickly closing down most of the peach production in the state. Many farmers never recovered from this disease and went out of business.
1930’s – Canneries began sprouting up along the railroads of Delaware. Peas, lima beans, tomatoes and corn were all grown in large acreage near to the cannery facilities. This created a spike in demand and sales for Delaware farmers during this era.
1950’s – The interstate highway system and the advent of refrigerated trucking enable fruits and vegetables to be shipped longer distances fresh. Fruits and vegetables from Florida and southern states could now be economically delivered to the large cities of the Northeast. The cannery business quickly begins to dwindle and many Delaware fruit and vegetable growers begin transitioning to other grain crops and poultry production.
Today, Fifer Orchards continues the legacy of Charles Frederick Fifer and his vision. 4th generation Fifer’s continue to grow a very diverse mix of high quality fresh fruits and vegetables including: asparagus, strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, heirloom varieties, apples, pumpkins and more.
Fifer fruits and vegetables find their way to a diverse customer base including:
- Grocery stores – Wegmans, Giant, Whole Foods, Walmart, Harris Teeter, and others
- Local food stores and CSA’s – Lloyds IGA, Zone 7, Hockers Market, Common Market, Janssen’s Market, and more
- Local wholesale to regional roadside farm stands, distributors, and CSA’s such as Greensgrow and Norman’s Market.
- Weekly Farmers’ Markets – Rehoboth Beach and Lewes
- Fifer retail locations – Country Store (Camden-Wyoming) and Farm Market Cafe (Dewey Beach, DE)
- Fifer CSA Program – Community Supported Agriculture
- Local Delmarva restaurants
- Delaware Schools
To grow and sell high quality produce, while preserving the environment, serving the community and maintaining family values.