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I'm developing my land to open as a U-pick. My problem is there is absolutely no one around that has one. Makes my business plan a good one but makes it impossible to ask other people what is needed/works. So here I am, begging for knowledge.

Basically how many trees are needed to provide a sufficient harvest for a U-pick? I've barely started and not planning on opening for 5-10 years but I'd like to get an idea of what I'm going to need handy. I'm doing it permaculture style so I have a variety of fruit bearing trees and bushes all planted together. I figure if I do 20 acres of trees that should be sufficient right? I've only got 5 done now and even then it's not done sufficiently. Work in progress. Also, I'm doing a nut forest on the other side. So that's more like a 10 year plan.

I've got grapes going, they are separate from the trees but in the same area. I wouldn't want those picked. I'd want them for myself/wine making. So do I need to fence them in or replant them somewhere far from the trees??

Anyway, advice on business model please. Also, do you think it would be worth field fencing the lot of it so I can let the dogs out to guard the trees? As I said, not a single U-pick in my area (probably the whole state but I can't gaurantee that). I've read enough of the other U-pick threads to know that people steal from them.
 

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I have friends with 35 acres of orchards and truck gardens that are u-pick and a stand for already picked. They're already sold out of peaches this year, although the pears are heavy producers this year, and the apples always have lots left. Early year, so everything got ripe early and is finishing early.
The one thing I can suggest is space. You need space between the trees for mowing equipment and a place for folks to park while they pick, for them to move around in and be able to set up ladders, irrigation, etc.
You said you were going to plant your trees and bushes "all together" and it makes me feel like it's going to be crowded. Maybe not what you meant, but people trample and break things if they don't have enough room. And they need clear ground, which is why my friends mow regularly.
Otherwise, good for you! I love u-pick, and it sounds like your area really needs one.
Kit
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have friends with 35 acres of orchards and truck gardens that are u-pick and a stand for already picked. They're already sold out of peaches this year, although the pears are heavy producers this year, and the apples always have lots left. Early year, so everything got ripe early and is finishing early.
The one thing I can suggest is space. You need space between the trees for mowing equipment and a place for folks to park while they pick, for them to move around in and be able to set up ladders, irrigation, etc.
You said you were going to plant your trees and bushes "all together" and it makes me feel like it's going to be crowded. Maybe not what you meant, but people trample and break things if they don't have enough room. And they need clear ground, which is why my friends mow regularly.
Otherwise, good for you! I love u-pick, and it sounds like your area really needs one.
Kit
I suppose it does sound crowded! What I mean is that I don't haev apples in one line, pears in another, etc. I have them all intermingled in their lines. It's permaculture so in that you don't plant all of one thing together as to prevent problems arising.

Here is a pic I took this weekend. I just have 36 trees right now. Not much. But this is the 5 acres I did plant. So far just 2 swales on it and the swales are really far apart. I haevn't decided if I'm going to do another swale in between or if I'm going to designate the inbetween the official picnic spot. You can barely see the other swale in the background.
 

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There is one near me, we get peaches there. It is fenced, they run sheep in to keep the grass down and to fertilize. They have peaches, apples, pears, prunes, raspberries, cherries and blueberries, that I know of. They have a little scale house and pay station/moneybox. They have a big sign at each different location showing varieties and what rows are which variety. Good signs showing what rows are open each day/where the ripe ones are. It is very rural, big property, other crops, each orchard type separate from others. Big ponds for irrigation. They also have a wedding venue near one pond. They do a corn maze, pumpkin patch/hayride and cider days....James
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is one near me, we get peaches there. It is fenced, they run sheep in to keep the grass down and to fertilize. They have peaches, apples, pears, prunes, raspberries, cherries and blueberries, that I know of. They have a little scale house and pay station/moneybox. They have a big sign at each different location showing varieties and what rows are which variety. Good signs showing what rows are open each day/where the ripe ones are. It is very rural, big property, other crops, each orchard type separate from others. Big ponds for irrigation. They also have a wedding venue near one pond. They do a corn maze, pumpkin patch/hayride and cider days....James
I did hear that pigs would be necessary to eat any fallen fruit to prevent disease. So I figured I'd fence it in when it started bearing but I figured dog protection might be necessary as well.

I do have 40 acres and only really planned on having 5 for animals. I just wanted to reserve the other 15 for crop planting.
 

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...............I'd think you'd need a very strong 8 foot fence to keep the Mule deer out of your orchard . Elk can't jump that high if I remember correctly . , fordy
 

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Another thing to think about is if you are going to offer any kind of bathroom facility (or if laws will force you to).

A little "General Store" is always nice where people can buy things, and maybe an added "cafe" type place to sell food if it gets bigger later. Cider and fresh cider donuts and various fresh in season pies are popular. :thumb:

I always thought a small area that would be wheelchair accessible with raised beds and dwarf trees would be a nice touch for those in a wheelchair or elderly. Up front closer to the parking area with a wheel friendly path. :thumb:

Oh and some seating or benches in far out areas. People get tired and dont want to sit in the dirt. If you could plan and actually set that up it would be soooooooooo nice especially if it is in the shade!!!

I also think setting up a really cool chicken structure of some sort that is fenced and "fancy" or "child friendly" and then have a section where you could sell the eggs from would be nice. Kids would tell everyone about the chickens that lived in a castle or old west town! :cowboy:


If you are looking to make it into an agrotourism/destination type place... many of the ones I have been to in multiple states have the following:

pumpkins/corn maze/haybale maze/etc...
food and or bbq (at bare minimum cold soda pop and water in ice chest)
caramel apples
petting zoo or penned animals to look at
"barrel" trains - water barrel on wheels chained up train style pulled by a tractor
picnic tables
playground
large "sand box" in a silo filled with corn instead of sand
goat yard with goat tower to watch goat "tricks"
hay rides
rabbit yard (fenced in so kids could watch the rabbits in "natural" habitat)
barn for classes and field trips
plexiglass bee hive/house/tunnel so kids can watch the bees up close
pull carts/little red wagons for people to load picked veg/fruit and haul kids around
bathrooms and hand washing stations


Hope that gives you a few ideas! :)

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Oh and make sure you have a GOOD website and GOOD signs up on the roads!!! Find a theme and make EVERYTHING tie in with it! Brand the UPick and make everything connected and look good. Doesn't take much extra effort but makes eveything super nice and easy to REMEMBER. You don't have to do anything super fancy or slick, but it needs to be easy to remember and easy to find and it has to stick out to people so they make the extra effort to come to you!


On that note take effort to market to schools, homeschoolers, newspapers and the local news and radio stations! Maybe even donate to any local shelters or food banks. Get your name out and assoiciated with doing good things, having a good time and quality! :)
 

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I may have thought about doing this a few times over the years. :gaptooth:

:pound:
 

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Check out what the cost of insurance you need based on what the state tells you. First place I'd start talking to would be the county extension office. There might be grant money through them plus they'd be able to help you with a soil test and what grows good in your area/locale.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh and make sure you have a GOOD website and GOOD signs up on the roads!!! Find a theme and make EVERYTHING tie in with it! Brand the UPick and make everything connected and look good. Doesn't take much extra effort but makes eveything super nice and easy to REMEMBER. You don't have to do anything super fancy or slick, but it needs to be easy to remember and easy to find and it has to stick out to people so they make the extra effort to come to you!


On that note take effort to market to schools, homeschoolers, newspapers and the local news and radio stations! Maybe even donate to any local shelters or food banks. Get your name out and assoiciated with doing good things, having a good time and quality! :)
I raise peacocks. Peacocks are the theme! Really rare in my area. Not a single registered breeder. I'm working my way there.
 

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Check out what the cost of insurance you need based on what the state tells you. First place I'd start talking to would be the county extension office. There might be grant money through them plus they'd be able to help you with a soil test and what grows good in your area/locale.
The University already put out a report on that so I'm good on knowing what to buy!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Another thing to think about is if you are going to offer any kind of bathroom facility (or if laws will force you to).

A little "General Store" is always nice where people can buy things, and maybe an added "cafe" type place to sell food if it gets bigger later. Cider and fresh cider donuts and various fresh in season pies are popular. :thumb:

I always thought a small area that would be wheelchair accessible with raised beds and dwarf trees would be a nice touch for those in a wheelchair or elderly. Up front closer to the parking area with a wheel friendly path. :thumb:

Oh and some seating or benches in far out areas. People get tired and dont want to sit in the dirt. If you could plan and actually set that up it would be soooooooooo nice especially if it is in the shade!!!

I also think setting up a really cool chicken structure of some sort that is fenced and "fancy" or "child friendly" and then have a section where you could sell the eggs from would be nice. Kids would tell everyone about the chickens that lived in a castle or old west town! :cowboy:


If you are looking to make it into an agrotourism/destination type place... many of the ones I have been to in multiple states have the following:

pumpkins/corn maze/haybale maze/etc...
food and or bbq (at bare minimum cold soda pop and water in ice chest)
caramel apples
petting zoo or penned animals to look at
"barrel" trains - water barrel on wheels chained up train style pulled by a tractor
picnic tables
playground
large "sand box" in a silo filled with corn instead of sand
goat yard with goat tower to watch goat "tricks"
hay rides
rabbit yard (fenced in so kids could watch the rabbits in "natural" habitat)
barn for classes and field trips
plexiglass bee hive/house/tunnel so kids can watch the bees up close
pull carts/little red wagons for people to load picked veg/fruit and haul kids around
bathrooms and hand washing stations


Hope that gives you a few ideas! :)

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
Much to think on! Thanks so much!!!
 

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I raise peacocks. Peacocks are the theme! Really rare in my area. Not a single registered breeder. I'm working my way there.

That will awesome! Make sure you sell the feathers! I have been to a zoo that does that. :thumb:
 

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http://www.cantonapples.com/

This is a very small place near me, although I've never been there. You might be able to email them and ask a few questions on how they do things.

They have both a Facebook page and a web page to keep people knowing what is going on with their place and when varieties are coming into season.
 

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hopefully, you're setting up close to one of the few large cities in the State? Wyoming is the most sparsely populated states....
 
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