We are having success with our U-Pick apple orchard! People are happy to pay for the privilege of picking their own apples from the tree. We have owned the orchard since 2000, and sold our apples to local larger growers for the first few years. We registered with the USDA as a farm. There were problems with selling to the other growers. They were set up for selling direct to the public from their farms. They couldn't produce enough apples to meet the demand. If they needed our apples they were great to deal with. If they didn't need them they were impossible to reach. Hiring pickers is always a problem. We refuse to hire illegals. We paid americans to pick the apples, and we paid twice what the other growers were paying the illegals. We also had the problem with getting the price for the apples that had been agreed to. After paying pickers, delivering the apples and waiting for weeks to be paid, they would only pay what the pickers cost, and not the agreed upon price. My only option would be to take them to court. I decided not to deal with them anymore instead. We finally were approved for a farm/ranch insurance policy. Because we finally had liability coverage, we decided to open for U-Pick. This iliminated the need to deal with the other growers, and for dealing with pickers! We declare all income and expenses related to our ranch on our taxes. This allows us to deduct ranch expenses. Our picking season will only last while we have apples, and then the pace there will return to the quiet we have come to love! Last year we were only open for two weeks. Wildfires caused the Forest Service to close all FS roads in our mountians. Because of this our customers couldn't reach us and we closed up. Also Santa Ana winds that fed the flames also caused a massive apple drop. Despite that short time we were open, we are getting return business, and they are bringing their friends! Our ranch has a rich history. I have written about it on local websites, and posted historic photos. The locals that didn't even know we existed, have really enjoyed reading it, and come to see the place. I wrote articles for two papers, and they have not yet been published. A friend has written an article about the history and how good the experience of picking there was, and that should be published this week or next.