Who We Are
Bishops' Orchard is a seasonal farm that offers locals a variety of fresh fruits and ciders. We specialize in apples and pears but offer customers so much more. At Bishops' Orchard we feel incredibly lucky that we get to do what we love and we’d love for you to take part in the experience. Come for the cider, stay for the relaxing environment and memories.
We offer the opportunity to come enjoy the outdoors and the fruits of our labors. The orchard is open to all, but we ask that you keep in mind this is not a theme park. We offer a unique agricultural experience that we are fortunate to be able to share with the community.
Mission and Aspirations
An Environmental and Natural Farm
We believe that fresh food is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle. Our mission is to grow quality, nutritious produce, while engaging with the community of the Palouse by providing a place to come, and enjoy the great outdoors while picking some fruit or pressing some fresh cider.
Our Roots Grow Deep
We are Stephen and Sally Bishop. In early 1976, after completing our educations in western Washington, we moved to the Bishop family farm , located near Garfield, Washington. The farm was homesteaded in 1878 by Stephen’s great-grandparents. Not long after our arrival, a 9 acre tract of land located in the far, northwest corner of the town of Garfield came up for sale. We were drawn to the property because it is situated on a south facing slope. This made it an ideal location for an orchard, and we had a strong desire to establish an orchard. While many old timers in the area cautioned that “you can’t grow apples in the Palouse”, we were aware that, in the early days of the settlement, the area around Garfield supported many, productive orchards. We bought the land in the spring of 1977, and moved onto it that fall. We planted our first 24 apple trees in March, 1978, followed by successive annual plantings until the property was fully planted in 1986. As the trees came into production, we began building our u-pick operation, followed shortly by our sweet cider operation. In 2007, we acquired an additional 3 acres adjoining the western boundary of our original property, with the idea that we would devote the new land to plantings of apples specifically grown for the production of hard cider. At the time, we intended to construct a cidery on the property to produce hard cider. We then began planting English cider apples on the newly acquired land, which we referred to as the new orchard.
Our plans for the new orchard were quickly modified after an unusual arctic freeze occurred in early October, 2009. The temperature went from the mid-70’s to 6 degrees overnight. The older trees in the original, “old” orchard were wholly unprepared for the sudden temperature drop and suffered varying degrees of damage. We realized that the damaged trees would likely begin to decline and die within a few years, so we changed our plans for the new orchard and scrapped the idea of establishing a cidery. We were able to add an additional six acres to the new orchard, increasing it to nine acres. We began planting trees in the newly expanded new orchard to replace the damaged, old orchard trees; we wanted to avoid a lapse in the production of apples for our u-pick operation as production declined in the old orchard. However, we also continued to plant English apples in the expanded new orchard, concentrating most of the English apples in the southwest portion of the orchard.
We are now in the process of gradually renovating the old orchard with new plantings. All of our new plantings in both the old and new orchards have been dwarf trees supported by trellis. The trellis-supported trees are densely planted at the rate of approximately 900 trees per acre, and only grow to 8 – 10 feet in height. These trees are more productive than the free-standing trees we planted previously, and they are very easy to harvest from the ground. This is our story and, while it can be difficult to produce apples and pears in the Palouse, we believe we have disapproved the notion that “you can’t grow apples in the Palouse”.