Magee Farms changing things up this winter at Lewes site

October 27, 2023

Story Location:
Magee Farms
33761 Wescoats Road
Lewes, DE 19971
United States

I stopped by the Magee Farms stand off Wescoats Road outside Lewes the other day to pick up some locally grown lima beans. While I was there, I noticed the field next to the stand had been prepared for a winter planting. That’s not unusual – they plant something there every year. What caught my eye was that instead of running from Wescoats Road back to Clay Road, the area about to be planted was running parallel to Wescoats Road.

It’s the first time I can remember this orientation of the field, so I asked one of the employees about it. He didn’t really know, but I was told next year’s strawberry crop will be planted over the next couple of days and the owners would probably be there to make sure things were going well. I went back the next day, and as luck would have it, Danny and Ellen Magee were there.

Danny said they’ve been farming this piece of property for 35 years and he confirmed this is the first time they’ve planted their over-winter crop in this orientation. He said they’re doing it for a few reasons – it’s good to rotate usage of the land, to make the strawberry field more visible to passersby, and to try and help control the deer.

Last year, they planted 30 acres of pumpkins only to have deer and geese eat everything, which ruined the crop. That’s why there’s been deer fencing installed too, he said.

“The hope is that at least during the day, the deer might stay away because it’s so close to the road,” said Danny. “I’ve seen 15 or 20 deer out there in the middle of the afternoon. They walk down the rows like it’s a buffet line. We’re the only restaurant in town, and once they’ve eaten it, the crop won’t come back.”

He said they had purchased 20,000 strawberry plants at 38 cents apiece, adding they had another 40,000 delivered to the main operation in Williamsville, which is about five miles west of Fenwick Island. The Williamsville location been in the Magee family since Abraham Lincoln was president. Typically, strawberries come from Virginia, but they weren’t available this year, so they’re from Kentucky, he said.

“Each plant should produce about a pound-and-a-quarter of strawberries,” said Danny. “These should be ready the first or second week in May.”

The U-pick fields at Magee Farms are among their most popular attractions, said Danny.

“We’re selling an experience, and people like doing it,” he said.

Playing in the dirt and getting clean

I was out on assignment a few days ago and noticed a bunch of small birds playing in the dirt around the base of a street tree on the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue. There were about half a dozen, and they had dug perfectly symmetrical circles, about the size of a baseball, in the ground. They flew about a little when humans walked by, but for the most part, they were in their own little world. They even let me get close enough to get a pretty good photo.

I had never seen birds acting like this before, so I reached out to the Delaware Ornithological Society for some more information.

Mike Moore, society president, got back to me. He said the birds are house sparrows, which were introduced from Europe and are common in urban areas.

“They are dust bathing, a common activity in birds and mammals,” said Moore. “Working dust into feathers helps keep the feathers in good condition by absorbing excess oils and moisture, and may kill parasites such as feather mites.”

That’s cool and maybe explains my son’s aversion to taking a shower unless he’s told – he’s just in tune with his mammalian ancestors.

Joke of the Week:

Halloween is around the corner and Sea Witch is taking place this weekend, so here’s a couple Halloween-themed jokes. Typically, I only run one joke, but if I get two time-sensitive jokes I’m game to run them both. The first was given to me by my colleague Berni. The second came to me anonymously. As always, send jokes to

Joke 1:

Q: Why don't monsters eat ghosts?

A: Because they taste like sheet!

Joke 2:

Two Halloween brooms were talking. 

“I think we are going to be parents,” said Broom 1.

“How can that be?” asked Broom 2. “We haven't even swept together!”


  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

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