A crate of oranges on a table in an orchard.

Table of Contents

  1. Selling Fruit Directly to the Public
  2. Boost Orchard Sales with Farmer’s Markets
  3. Sell to Local Stores
  4. Sell Large Quantities Wholesale
  5. Sell to Regional Supermarket Chains
  6. Use Distributors and Brokers
  7. Contact Local and Regional Distributors
  8. Selling Fruit Online
  9. Attract Local Customers

So you’ve bought yourself an orchard, hired a great staff, and harvested a bumper crop. The challenge now becomes selling your fruit to make a good profit. There are a couple of key steps you should take to maximize orchard sales. First, you have to identify lucrative markets for your large crop of fruit and decide which ones you will focus on. Second, you need to find practical channels for sale and distribution. Some good options include marketing your fruits directly to the general public, reaching out to a group of large buyers, selling fruit online, and employing the services of brokers and distributors with an established network to quickly find buyers for your large harvest of fruit.

  1. Selling Fruit 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 you would 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.

  1. Boost Orchard Sales with Farmer’s Markets

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 seven days a week, while others 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 sale supplies like pallets, fruit wax, and fruit boxes.

  1. Sell To Local Stores

Selling fruit in relatively large quantities to local food and grocery stores 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 for their customers.

  1. Sell Large Quantities Wholesale

Offering your fruit 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 orchard sales 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 fruit 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 that restaurants and food cooperatives are very interested in buying their fresh fruit.

  1. Sell To Regional Supermarket Chains

A crate of oranges on a table in an orchard.

One way new orchards can sell their fruit in even larger quantities is to market them to regional supermarket chains. These chains are responsible for providing fresh produce to several stores 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, Less Overheads

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 lose on orchard sales by setting it against the overhead costs of storage, marketing costs, and having to make several 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 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.

  1. 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 them 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 hassle brokers save growers in selling the fruit usually makes them worth the price.

  1. Contact Local and Regional Distributors

Another group of professionals that can help new orchard owners market their harvests is 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 reducing the time spent on orchard sales and helps orchard owners quickly sell their entire harvest to a few distributors for a reasonable profit.

  1. Selling Fruit Online

Some orchard owners find the internet to be a useful tool to market their fruits. By selling fruit 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 when selling their fruit. This helps many new orchard owners to increase the market for their fruits considerably.

  1. Attract Local Customers

Many internet-savvy orchard owners also use the internet to raise the local population’s awareness of the orchard, let local consumers know where their orchard and sales are located, and announce when they will be selling fruit. 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. Selling fruit online is a fairly recent channel for orchard sales, but it’s a model that is rapidly growing.

Simplifying the Fruit-Selling Process with Fruit Growers Supply

Orchards can be a lucrative investment if the new owner has a vision and creates an innovative, effective, marketing strategy. As a company with over a century of experience in the industry, Fruit Growers Supply can help you succeed with crop-specific irrigation and fertilizers, corrugated packaging with eye-catching graphics, food-grade fruit wax, and brand-new, customized pallets. Reach out to a team member today to learn more about best practices for selling your harvest of fruit.

Resources: