So you’ve bought yourself an orchard, hired a great staff and harvested a bumper crop. The challenge now becomes how to sell your fruit and make a good profit. There are several key steps you should take. First you have to identify lucrative markets for your large crop of fruit and decide on which ones you will focus. Some good options include marketing your fruits directly to the general public, reaching out to a group of large buyers and employing the services of brokers and distributors with the experience and the established network to quickly find buyers for your large harvest.
Sell Directly To The Public
Selling the fruit that you grew in your orchard directly to the public allows you to charge profitable retail prices and potentially make more money than using other methods. However, it does require more work on your part. You have to identify and prepare several different locations to sell your fruits. Many growers with orchards in close proximity to well-used roadways and popular highways sell their produce through roadside stands. To be successful, these roadside stands require attention-grabbing, clearly visible signs and stands that are relatively easy for motorists to access.
Another effective method orchard owners can use to sell their fruits directly to the public is through farmer’s markets. Many communities across the nation have farmer’s markets where local farmers can give the general public an opportunity to purchase fresh produce on a regular basis. Some farmer’s markets are open 7 days a week, while other are only open on weekends or on specific days each month. A new orchard owner can hawk their wares at several of these markets and be able to quickly sell their entire harvest. All it takes is attractive, tasty, fruit and some basic orchard selling supplies like pallets, fruit wax and fruit boxes.
Sell To Local Stores
Selling the harvest in relatively large quantities to local food and grocery stories is another way new orchard owners can market their harvests. Many ethnic markets and local grocery stores would welcome the opportunity to get fresh fruits directly from an orchard in their area. Those stores already have many clients on a daily basis looking for fruits for their families. They would be glad to get fruits that are grown locally and brought to the store fresh regularly. Fresh, in-season, fruits are always a hit and buying from a local orchard means the price will be lower for the merchant and their customers.
Offering their fruits to local markets and stores is a great option for a new orchard owner because they will buy the fruits in relatively large quantities. This means the fruits will be sold quickly, to fewer customers than retail and will eliminate the danger of having large amounts of them spoil because they sat around too long. Marketing the fruits wholesale to the stores and markets will bring in a little less income than selling it retail, but the entire harvest can be sold a lot quicker. The orchard owners save money by only having to pay people to work at the fruit stands for a short period of time. Many orchard owners also find restaurants and food cooperatives to be very interested in buying fresh fruits from them.
Sell To Regional Supermarket Chains
One way new orchards can sell their fruits in even larger quantities is to market them to regional supermarket chains. These chains are responsible for providing fresh produce to several stories in the region and may be willing to purchase a very large percentage of the orchard’s harvest. For a new orchard owner that can be a very good arrangement indeed. Rather than having to drive around making deals and deliveries to several small to medium-sized customers, they can sell most or even all of their harvest to one or two regional supermarket chains in a very short period of time.
Lower Prices, But Less Overhead
While the new orchard owner may get less per pound for the fruit by selling it in bulk to a few large regional supermarket chains, they can make up some of the difference in the money they will save on overhead for storage, marketing costs and the money they would spend on having to make many smaller deliveries. Plus, this type of arrangement can provide an orchard owner with a guaranteed market for as much fruit as they can grow each year. This can give them with a stable, dependable income and can take some of the uncertainty out of running and growing the orchard. This can relieve some of the pressure a new orchard owner often feels when it comes to the profitability of the enterprise.
Use Distributors And Brokers
Some new orchard owners prefer to put all their focus on producing the largest, healthiest harvest possible and leave the job of marketing the fruit to professionals.
These owners make arrangements with brokers and distributors to find customers for their fruits and have it delivered to those customers once the harvest is in. Independent brokers are common in the food industry. They are paid a commission for connecting the grower to the buyer. Although the grower will get less money for their harvest when they use a broker, the time, stress and hassles brokers save growers make them worth the price.
Local And Regional Distributors
Another group of professionals that can help new orchard owners to market their harvests are local and regional distributors. These professionals often purchase a large part or the entire harvest of an orchard for a reduced price. They then store the fruits in a warehouse, mark up the price and sell the fruits to a network of grocery chains, restaurants, institutions and organizations with which they have established a relationship. This works well for the orchard owner because they are able to quickly sell their entire harvest to just a few distributors and make a reasonable profit.
Use The Internet
Some orchard owners find the internet to be a useful tool to market their fruits. By going online, they are able to reach out to stores, markets, brokers, distributors and institutions all across the country to gauge interest in the fruits they have to offer. After checking to ensure they are in compliance with all applicable health and business regulations, the orchard owners can pack and ship their fruits to customers all over the country and roll the cost of packing and shipping into the price they charge. This helps many new orchard owners to increase the market for their fruits considerably.
Attract Local Customers
Many internet savvy orchard owners also use the internet to raise the local population’s awareness of the orchard and let local consumers know where the orchard and their fruit stands are located and when they will hold sales and special events. Some orchard owners use the internet to contact local schools, churches and other organizations to invite them to tour the facilities and set up agreements where they purchase the fruits wholesale, add a profit and sell the fruits as part of a fundraising event. The internet can even be used to make connections to industrial buyers nationally and internationally who use the fruits as an ingredient in a variety of products.
A Lucrative Investment
Orchards can be a lucrative investment if the new owner has vision and creates an innovative, effective, marketing strategy.