I’ve decided to do something I’ve said from day one I’d never do: sell some fruit. But don’t misunderstand me- in no way am I getting into the fruit “Business” and what tiny amount I’m going to sell would never approach paying for even a tiny fraction of my costs. For me growing fruit is a hobby and I accept the costs just as a fisherman buys a boat and gear or a golfer buys clubs and green fees. My “Big” plan-at least for now- is nothing more than setting up a large table under a big shade tree out by the main road, setting a few bags of apples out there and putting a weighted coffee can with a lid with a slot for people to put money in- so the volunteer system. The man directly across the road does this with garden veggies and does well and has only had money stolen one time in 3-4 years! I feel like if I can make enough to buy a bag of imidan or even Kocide next year by selling just a few bags of apples left after I gave everyone important to me some, then why not. I’d be interested in hearing if any of you ever thought of this (side those who make a serious effort to sell fruit like @blueberrythrill , @Olpea , @amadioranch and others. I love what you guys do, but I’m not sure it would be for me. A big table with a few bags that people can voluntarily pay for is just about all I can handle I think!
Anway, aside from just wanting to talk a little about this tiny little temporary addition to my fruit growing hobby, I’d really like to hear from several of you about the price you pay or sell apples for at a roadside stand and/or pick-your-own orchard.
Specifically, I am most interested in the price of a half peck and peck of apples- especially a half peck because that is the size of bags I bought- right or wrong! Probably should have bought a peck size but I figure I could always sell 2 half-pecks bags (maybe at a discount) but selling a full peck bag that is half empty wouldn’t look right. And as hard as it is for us to imagine, I find a lot of people only want a few apples at time. Anyway, right or wrong I already got my 1/2 peck bags (for 11 cents each and they are wet-strength with handles and cute pics of fruit and say “Fresh USA Grown Fruit”)
Even if all you say on this post is the price of apples at a stand or orchard where you live, I’d appreciate it. If they all sell by the pound, I’m sure I can make the conversion. (I think a 1/2 peck of apples should weigh 5-6 lbs?)
Thanks for any help you can provide. I’ll give you free rides on my new yacht I buy with my new apple business- the grand business plan that it is!
Interesting topic. Hope you get some experienced reply’s.
Maybe I need a peck or two…bears ate all my apples.
Seriously, if you have a regular roadside market, I have a brother in Gallatin with a few apples and honeybees. He might drop in…or I might.
I see nothing wrong with selling fruit we have in excess. This is the first year I sell my fruit after giving them away for several years. I still give some away to family, good neighbors and close friends.
I live in a suburb with supermarkets like Whole Foods, Wegman’s and Trader Joe’s nearby. I just went over to check their prices.
Their fruit, organic or not, taste inferior to any of my tree-ripened fruit. That’s my selling point. As this is my first year selling figs, peaches, pkums and watermelons, I sell them at a price similar to those markets.
I don’t have apples so I can’t tell you the price. Apples at supermarkets are sold per lb, average $2 a lb except for popular apples like Honey Crisp. That’s a dollar more expensive.
Yup, all thing considered, my fruit probably cost me $20 per fruit.
While you are aiming at a yacht, I think I will settle with a Tesla with the profits I will make from my fruit selling endeavor. Good luck.
I knew you mentioned you might sell a little this year as well, so I’m not alone in just wanting to sell a very small amount of my extras without actually getting serious about it. By the way, you have such a great sense of humor! haha. So you are buying a Tesla with your profits and I’m getting a yacht. I suspect @Olpea, @blueberrythrill, @amadioranch and a few others here might, just might, think we are over estimating our potential profits a bit! How about it Mark, how many boats and cars have you bought with your massive profits? ha
But seriously, you haven’t said how you plan to sell yours? You just selling to people you know or how are you going to sell your extras?
@BlueBerry I think I remember you saying bears got your apples…that is just crazy! While I know there are occasional bear sightings in our general area, I can’t believe you have them consistently enough to be a problem for your apples! Do you ever get any good photos? Do you have a trail cam? Can I come bear hunting at your house? hahah As for my apples, no more than I have I doubt it would be worth the trip, but with the generosity I’ve been shown by others here, I’m always willing to just share fruit with a fellow fruit grower. I’d also love to trade your brother some fruit next year (peaches, apples, pears, plums, etc for a few frames/nuc of bees- I’d supply the frames and box). Anyway, something to think about between now and spring. Meanwhile lets go bear hunting!!!
FWIW, someone just posted in a local “for sale” group on “a social media site” in my part of TN:
Apples for sale:
Red delicious $24 bushel
Gold delicious $24 bushel
Jonagold $24 bushel
Mutsu $20 bushel
Granny Smith $20 bushel
Or sale by peck
Some great questions Kevin.
The easiest questions first.
We sell our apples for $1.50 per lb. This is better than most grocer store prices and the apples taste better. That means a 1/2 peck bag (6 lb.) would sell for $9.
I would never try to compete with massive growers selling apples for less than 50 cents/lb. Many new growers try to sell to cheap, either because they don’t count all their costs, then figure out it’s not worth it, or because they haven’t developed a customer base and think dirt cheap prices are a quick way to develop a customer base. All they end up doing is developing a customer base which wants the cheapest possible fruit they can find. I don’t want those type customers. They aren’t the least bit loyal. They are always looking for the next cheapest deal.
You don’t have the economies of scale to compete on price with the huge growers. Instead compete on great quality fruit and charge more for it. I was probably too cheap on apples this year. The only reason I didn’t charge more was because I really don’t consider apples much of a profit center in my orchard. It’s just something a little extra to offer my customers.
Of course some people go crazy with the price. I had a customer just today who admitted she paid $3.50 per lb. for some peaches from some roadside vendor, when she couldn’t get some from me (I charge $2.50 per lb.) Strangely she told me she wouldn’t have minded the $3.50 per lb. for the peaches, but said they wouldn’t ripen up and had to throw them out. I also had a customer yesterday who said she visited a vendor at a farmer’s market who was charging $4.50 per lb. for tomatoes. She said she bought one “rip-off” tomato (her words) for that price.
Regarding the honor system of payment. It depends on your area, how well it works. Sometimes dishonest jerks will steal the money. Sometimes they will steal the fruit. I had a guy tell me someone started stealing his whole table of fruit and reselling it. In fact, a few years ago, I suspected someone was stealing some of my fruit out of the orchard, and reselling it at a farmer’s market, although I never caught them.
I would encourage you to sell your apples, even on the honor system. I suspect some southern rural areas probably have more of a social conscience against theft than most areas of the U.S. Do it until you start to have problems. I think you are right to use smaller bags. Folks can always buy two bags.
I started selling the extras to my neighbors, friends and coworkers. Then, some friends and neighbors told their friends and posted about my fruit (and pictures) on their Facebook and community websites.
Those who are interested have contacted me. The problem is I don’t have a large quantity to sell.
I set my price comparable to prices from local supermarkets. I’ve sold peaches and plums at $3 a lb and figs at $6 a lb. Don’t forget I don’t have a targeted group of customers. If I have high end customers who value home grown fruit, I would have charged more.
To my surprise, figs are in great demand. A guy called and asked me to put him on a wait list for next year so his Italian father could have fully ripened figs. Another lady wants figs for her mother who has not eaten good figs for years. My figs are very sweet this year. I plan to grow more early ripening fig varieties. Less work to grow figs anyway.
The 2nd in demand fruit are Mirabelle plums. I am running out of them. People love sweet fruit. To them, my mirabelles are sweet and fragrant. A year or two ago, I was thinking about grafting it over to other varieties. Now, I think I should plant another mirabelle . PC and OFM leave them alone. Those pests go after larger plums like Coe’s and Castletons next to this mirabelle tree.
My customers are not into peaches. I believe they think they can buy peaches in stores. I would need to convince them to try my peaches first. Once they try, I am sure they will like them.
I have a lot of Asian friends. They like Asian pears. So far, I have no one interested in Euro peras. I don’t have apples this year. I think I can sell my apples because everyone like Honey Crisp. No apple farm around here sells Gold Rush. Its rarity and excellent taste can be a good selling point.
Before I get carried away by selling fruit, making money and buying a Tesla, I need to remind myself that I probably will only make enough to buy a bag or two of Surround.
It is fun and gives me a sense of pride to have people who bought my fruit telling me the fruit tasted “so good“.
This was just an individual selling some of their own locally grown apples. We’re lucky in this area to have a number of small “fruit stand” type places with good selection, good fruits/vegetables, and good prices. It’s a reasonable distance for them to go to SC or GA to get fresh peaches for instance… Anyway, one we frequent a lot, has apples at $1.29/lb or $16/bushel. Most varieties except for Honey Crisp I think, a bit more for them. Standard ones plus Ginger Gold and Stayman and a few others we’re less likely to see at a grocery store.
a friend has a fruit and veg. stand. he bought some signs saying ‘’ smile! your a on camera!’’ he put on his stand. he really doesn’t have cameras set up but hasn’t had any thefts since he put the signs up.
We get $20/peck minimum purchase PYO which is around $1.50/pound. No price break for multiple pecks.
We sell 1/4 pecks and 1/2 pecks of prepicked apples in the farmstand for $5 and $10
I have been to lots of commercial orchards in Virginia and most charged around $1.50 pound PYO or pre-picked. Many charged $1.59/lb almost like they got together on the price! Apples sold at auction in that same area sell for as little as $15 a bushel.
In my area its all about the experience picking the apples rather than the apples themselves. Glad it’s my last year for apples.
I think you should price your pecks for the same price as high grade grocery store apples or organic ones per lb for the whole peck. They are getting a discount because yours are more ripe and valuable and you are discounting them to that price per lb for them buying a whole peck. Yours are far more tree ripened than other available apples and are fresh and not a year old. Maybe give out samples or sell single apples for $1 reducing your price probably wont make it easier to sell them (yet be reasonable and at a fair market value) it will probably just make your apples seem less desired and valuable
It’s the old story, the farmer gets $5 for a bushel of corn, but Kelloggs corn flakes goes for $120 a bushel in the grocery store.
We picked 150 lbs of Golden Del. today, .75 cents/lb.
I know I’m a minority but it’s difficult finding Goldens here, the orchards only grow Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp. Using crabs for pollination, the old Red Delicious orchards used Goldens for pollination and would just let them rot if they couldn’t sell them.
I think you should absolutely do it. It doesn’t need to be about the cash, that’s just an added benefit. The best part is people get to know and appreciate your apples and learn to eat something with actual flavor instead of just some homogenous red appearance.
Relatives of mine sell sweet corn, plus some other stuff sometimes (they’re crop [field corn/soybean/dairy/etc] farmers) the same way via roadside honor system, and their policy is to empty the cash can 3 times a day. That way there’s less cash to motivate a crook and less loss if it does happen. You can also get a little lockbox with a slot and mount it to a post, that gives you some pretty good theft deterrence; then it’s not just a few bucks but also requires some time/tools, which make it burglary (a felony) and radically increase the chance of getting caught.
What’s the world coming to, Delicious selling for more than Granny Smith? Scares me a little.
I think cornflakes might cost more than that at my grocery store…
I just noticed our favorite small chain grocery selling locally grown ginger gold apples for 83 cents/lb. This time of year a car ride of any length involves dear spouse calling out multiple times “don’t look” - they don’t want to hear my tirade every time we pass another pear tree surrounded by piles of rotting fruit. There are several honor system sellers in the area that seem to do pretty well. Maybe one of these days we’ll have a new member here that got their start growing fruit after eating one of your tasty apples.
I get the idea, but I personally wouldn’t do the whole “a camera is watching you” thing. Kinda takes away from the whole casual honor system feel and might turn some privacy conscious people away. Someone that’s desperate enough to steal the money would just cover their face or wear a hat.
thecityman, I must have missed the part about buying bees earlier. I got my brother into bees when I was in my thirties and he in his teens. But, as you may know, with all the difficulties beekeepers have these days, he usually has empty hives he needs to divide or buy packages to refill himself. But, maybe I could arrange you all in touch sometime.
It would be cool to see pictures of members honor stands!
Also, are there laws about such things?