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Cash In On Agritourism: U-pick Patch

Even the most popular agritourism operation--u-pick farms--takes practice; here are some u-pick tips.

(From "Cash In On Agritourism," by Barbara Berst Adams, page 4 of 5)

Project 3: Test a Small U-pick Patch
Plant a 1/2 acre of an annual crop that’s popular as a u-pick: pumpkins, flowers, berries, sweet corn or green beans work well.

Or, tape off a small segment of an existing crop area and test the waters as a u-pick operation. This is a small-scale way to discover what it would be like to have customers harvesting your fields.

Many u-pick-operation owners find it satisfying, which might explain why u-pick is one of the oldest and most familiar forms of agritourism.

Large numbers of people filling your fields can be overwhelming at first. Gain experience and foundational insight with small, controlled numbers.

If you already have a several-acre sweet corn patch or a full-production blueberry field, for example, use temporary fencing or tape and mark off a just a small segment.

Advertise it as open by appointment for adults only. Try having u-pick hours for a limited number of hours per day during your ripening season.

Be prepared to harvest any remaining crops as usual that don’t get picked. Once you’ve tried the idea, you can decide if you want to open up more of your fields, plant more u-pick crops, allow children or solicit more pickers.

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