Today we went to Bishops Orchards Farm Market & Winery. It is # 19 on the Connecticut Wine trail.
I originally made plans to go apple picking with my neighbor and her family but when I found out it was also a winery I was even more eager to go. I wanted to make a contact to get permission to wander in their fields and paint. Sometimes going in person is the quickest and easiest way to make a contact.
When we arrived, the parking was easy. For those of you from big cities like New York City, the parking was FREE. We made our way over to the starting point. This is where you get a bag for the apples, a crate on wheels for carrying the apples, and then you go wait in line to hop on the tractor driven wagon that takes you out into the fields.
The apple orchards are quite impressive. There are dozens and dozens of rows of apple trees as far as the eye can see. Each row follows another as they make their way down the sloping hills of Connecticut. There were all kinds of apples; golden delicious, red delicious, breaburn, ida red and several others. At the very top of the trees, where almost no one could reach, sun ripened apples teetered on bending branches. I climbed up on a low branch and picked a handful of those teetering apples.
After filling our bellies and bags we made our way back to the check out counters and purchased our freshly picked apples along with some very tasty looking apple donuts that seemed to be strategically placed at the top of the check out counter. Then we headed over to another part of the orchard about a mile down the road where there was a farm market; a grocer with mostly locally grown produce.
On the far end of the parking lot at the farm market there was a petting zoo with goats and lamas, a big area of pumpkins, a hay maze and some fabulous tasting freshly popped kettle corn that my neighbor’s husband bought for the kids.
We went into the market to purchase some pasta and other produce to take home for dinner and I went in search of someone to inquire about painting in their fields. I went over to their wine tasting area and talked to a very nice man named Brian. He informed me that Bishop’s does not have any vineyards. I was very surprised to hear this! He told me that all of their wines are made from their fruit crops. They have 12 wines, each of which has won some kind of medal in various wine competitions. Their wines are made from the following fruits; apples, pears, peaches, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries. They do carry other brand name wines as well as a few wines from their fellow Connecticut wineries.
Bishops Orchards and farm has been around since the 1870’s and their winery is 5 years old. Their website is www.bishopsorchardswinery.com. I look forward to getting permission to paint those long rows of apple trees.