Markell designates ‘Delaware Local Produce Week’

Staff Writer

CAMDEN, Del. (July 21, 2015) — Last week, July 13-17, was the inaugural “Delaware Local Produce Week,” proclaimed in a series of events statewide attended by government officials.
Gov. Jack Markell signed a proclamation on Monday, July 13, to encourage Delawareans to buy and eat locally produced fruits and vegetables.
He and Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee gathered with legislators at Fifer Orchards, west of Camden, to tout the “Buy Local-Eat Local” movement.
State Rep. Lyndon Yearick, who represents the Camden area, recently sponsored bipartisan legislation (Concurrent Resolution 41) to promote the benefits of bringing Delaware consumers and farmers closer together.
By purchasing locally grown food, consumers benefit by getting fresher, more nutritious, and better-tasting food. Keeping sales and production close to home energizes the local economy, and reducing “food miles” — the distance food travels between the farm and consumers’ plates — means using less energy and creating less pollution.
In his remarks, Yearick quipped that the First Lady had called and wanted the governor to bring home two dozen ears of corn and some blueberries. Markell obliged by picking blueberries for the cameras and chose peaches to take home, too.
Members of the Fifer and Fennemore families, the operators of Fifer Orchards, hosted the July 13 event. They were described as “leaders in ag and for our state.”
Their community supported agriculture program provides fresh produce for 18 weeks through the summer, with distribution points at five sites in addition to the market. Major producers of peaches in the state, the operation also includes a you-pick produce business and an on-farm market.
Fifer Orchards began in 1919 when Charles Frederick Fifer moved his family from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to Kent County, Del., where he would pursue his passion to grow high quality fruits and vegetables.
Mary Fifer Fennemore represented the third generation at the ceremony, while Bobby Fifer and his wife, Candice, represented the fourth generation.
On hand, too, were Amelia and Clayton Fifer, ages 6 and 4 respectively, who are part of the upcoming fifth generation.
The children and their parents live within walking distance of the farm and spend a lot of time there.
A live cooking demonstration was one of the events at the Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market on Tuesday, while a community garden at 12th & Brandywine Urban Farm in Wilmington was featured on Wednesday.
The urban farm is managed by the Delaware Center for Horticulture and combines both a commercial and a community garden.
Former Baylor Women’s Correctional Center inmates work as paid staffers.
On Thursday, an annual tour sponsored by ShopRite brought customers from New Castle County to two farms in Bridgeville: Evans Farm and T.S. Smith & Sons.
Visitors were treated to lunch in the peach orchard pavilion at Smith’s.
There are about 100 on-site farmstands throughout the state, and about two dozen community-run farmers’ markets.