Stewardship & Sustainability

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The Bennett Family maintains a proud legacy, farming the fertile soils of the Delmarva Peninsula for over six generations. Our farm is listed as one of Delaware's historic "Century Farms" and is also placed in an Agricultural Preservation District. On our historic 250 acre Bennett Farmstead, in addition to our Bennett Peach and Bennett Blueberry Orchards, we preserve the rest of our acreage in timber production, farm production and native open space. Our farmstead is home to native plants, forests, creeks, ponds and many species of endemic wildlife all coexisting harmoniously alongside our Bennett Peach Trees and Bennett Blueberry Bushes.

A continuous commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture is paramount to the livelihood, success and future of our family farm, helping us to pass it down to future generations even healthier than when it was passed down to our current generations. The success of future generations of Bennetts is built on the foundation laid by the current generation of Bennetts. In every aspect of Bennett Orchards, our focus is on safe, sustainable farming practices that help preserve our lands and reduce waste, while continuing to foster healthy soils and ecosystems. This commitment allows us to safeguard quality, freshness, nutrition and the overall health of our soil, family and consumers. We are also proud to be Certified Delmarva Grown™Both Bennett Peaches and Bennett Blueberries are, and will always be, Non-GMO. 

We remain dedicated to:  

Bennett Orchards is honored to be sixth-generation growers of Delmarva's Finest Peaches & Blueberries. When you purchase Bennett Peaches and Bennett Blueberries from our farmers' market locations or when you pick your own you can be guaranteed that they were grown by Bennett Hands on Bennett Lands. This is reaffirmed by our Delmarva Grown™ certification. From our family to yours, enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

Examples of some of the sustainability practices employed by Bennett Orchards include:

Crop Rotation & Cover Crops: Growing the same crops on the same land for multiple decades can lead to unhealthy soil, increased disease pressure and nutrient deficiency. We always rotate the site of our orchards when planting new Bennett Peach Trees or Bennett Blueberry Bushes, allowing nutrient levels to replenish through rotation, while decreasing pest and disease pressure through natural means. We also plant cover crops on unused acreage helping to enrich our soil with organic matter and prevent future pest issues.

Drip irrigation:  Both Bennett Peaches and Bennett Blueberries utilize drip, or trickle irrigation, in order to reduce water waste. This method of irrigation also reduces bacterial pressures that can build up from wet leaves as evidenced in standard, overhead irrigation methods. Our highly efficient irrigation system has over 20 miles of underground tubing throughout our orchards, targeting water application directly to the root zone where it is most efficiently used by the plants.  Drip irrigation is also more energy efficient and wastes no water resources. We are proud to have been at the forefront of this technology, adopting it back in the early 1980's when it was first developed.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests, or their damage, through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and the use of resistant varieties. Examples include biological control through the use of beneficial insects, protection of our pollinators and working with universities to develop pheromone disruption controls that inhibit mating practices of damaging insects to confuse these damaging pests, reducing their ability to reproduce. We also perform intensive soil and leaf analysis to diagnose potential issues before they occur. We have followed a strict adherence to our IPM strategy since the 1980's, allowing us to adopt a proactive approach to pest management that allows us to produce the highest quality Bennett Peaches and Bennett Blueberries while following our commitment to environmental stewardship and our sustainability promise to consumers. 

Sanitation: We meticulously manicure all areas of our farm, to keep areas free of weeds and brush, which harbor pests and disease. This also creates a pristine environment for our pick your own guests. 

Soil Fertility:  The difference between "dirt" and "soil" is that soil is living. We protect the same soil that previous generations left to us so that we may pass it on to future generations even healthier than when it was left to our current generations. Our art of crop rotation and cover crops also helps to foster soil fertility and provide erosion control. Additionally, we maintain high levels of organic matter, helping to preserve natural nutrient levels in our land. Some examples include, the application of mulch to our blueberry bushes as a natural deterrent to weeds, while also helping to build and maintain high levels of organic matter. Additionally, we place all of our peach and blueberry prunings in our row middles to chop up, further adding organic matter for current and future generations of Bennetts.

Varietal Selection: We intensively research and select Bennett Peach and Bennett Blueberry varieties that are uniquely suited to the climate, soil, and topography of the Delmarva Peninsula. Varieties directly suited to our microclimate on the Delmarva peninsula naturally grow stronger, more vigorous, and withstand disease & pest pressure better, while producing some of the highest quality peaches and blueberries in the world. 

Selling Directly to Consumers: When you purchase a Bennett Peach or Bennett Blueberry from our farmers' market locations or when you pick your own, you can be assured that it was harvested no less than 12-24 hours before. We have zero refrigeration or cold storage on our farm, and our fruits never leave the Delmarva peninsula before being purchased by the consumer. We are Certified Delmarva Grown™ as additional reassurance. This reduces our carbon footprint but also allows you to receive Delmarva's Finest Peaches & Blueberries at their peak-of-ripeness to truly experience the taste of a Delmarva Summer.

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