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Anybody have a "pick your own" business?

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  • Anybody have a "pick your own" business?

    We are down to just two horses on our farm, and I really don't want to get any more. The city is closing in on us, and we are butted up against subdivisions. Does anyone have a "pick your own" strawberry patch, or orchard, or pumpkin patch or similar business? I am looking for something that could be set up on about three acres, with easy access off a five lane road. Thanks!
    It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

    www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.

  • #2
    Keep in mind that you need a particular type of insurance for that type of business (and heaven forbid you go without it and someone trips, or gets injured on the road) and that $500 a year or whatever can severely cut into your profits.

    Also, all it takes is one bad stretch of weather, and that's it, you've lost all of your money.

    Strawberries also take a year to establish themselves. Berry bushes and trees take even longer. Pumpkin patches would probably be your best bet.

    But honestly...do you really want to deal with the hassle of people coming onto your property? We own a garden center, and I have walked out there at ten at night to find people browsing around....the worst are the ones who will come knock at my door at six in the morning, because they "just had to grab something before work!" People do not know/do not care about boundaries, your own personal space, nothing. Is the maybe $500 worth it to you? It certainly wouldn't be for me!

    Also, consider the fact that the horses will be a major draw to all of the kids/random people wandering your property. That requires even more insurance, plus extra worries about what said ponies are being fed.

    PERSONALLY, if I were you and just bored out of my mind and not wanting to make much money....I'd start up a little mini veggie farm. Get the weird stuff--the rainbow swiss chard, different lettuces, different tomatoes. Don't spray it, and market it as all-natural/organic. Then set up a little road side stand that you are willing to sit at for specific, marked times. And see what sort of business you get. It takes a LONG time to build up a following, and taking care of those veggies is more work than you might think it is. But who knows, it might pay off, if you're the only one around offering that sort of thing, at reasonable prices.

    But honestly? The "professional" farmers who have acres upon acres to plant are having trouble breaking even. It's not really worth the time/effort/annoyance.


    • #3
      Insted of a stand, you could sell things at a farmers' market or flea market or periodically set up somewhere populated, or get a restaurant interested. With the restaurant you could "grow to order" and have a guaranteed market.


      • #4
        Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post

        PERSONALLY, if I were you and just bored out of my mind and not wanting to make much money....I'd start up a little mini veggie farm. Get the weird stuff--the rainbow swiss chard, different lettuces, different tomatoes. Don't spray it, and market it as all-natural/organic. Then set up a little road side stand that you are willing to sit at for specific, marked times. And see what sort of business you get. It takes a LONG time to build up a following, and taking care of those veggies is more work than you might think it is. But who knows, it might pay off, if you're the only one around offering that sort of thing, at reasonable prices.
        A kid did this down the road from an office park where I worked. He would plop a card table at the end of his driveway every day between 4 and 6 and sell sweet corn to the commuters. Not a bad summer gig for a teenager. I'm sure he put in fewer hours and earned more than if he'd been working at McDonalds. Of course, location was key.


        • #5
          I second the corn patch idea. We used to go by a small place owned by a young disabled veteran, and he had a little gator type tractor with a back bin, and when you came to his stand he would ask how many dozen you wanted and go pick them! He had silver queen brand (I think the more specialized brand the better) and you never had better or fresher than that corn. And as I recall he only had a few acres and I believe he did very well, plus people loved to talk to him and he had a lot of people who would plan trips to the country according to his corn ripening. If you get something like this started and get regular customers you can get a website or an email list to notify people when your crop is ready. Plus, because people only come to the stand area and wait there the tax liability would be less.
          Last edited by JanM; Jan. 28, 2010, 11:57 AM.
          You can't fix stupid-Ron White


          • #6
            Mmmmm, fresh corn right from the stalk. Now I've got late summer corn cravings.
            At least with only a an acre or two of corn you can also do a corn maze. Not sure how those go over in other areas, but here in CT the subdivision folks *adore* paying a few bucks to get lost in a corn maze.
            Maybe do a short season thing like a small pumpkin patch, corn for sale and a corn maze. Even better if yoou can toss in pony rides or hay rides. That way it s a late summer/fall thing only, carry insurance for that time only if possible and if it's a big draw in your area you can make a tidy little sum.
            I know the orchards and farms around here do the same (usually adding in apples and pie sales) and they make a bloody fortune. Lyman's Orchard in the next town over has lines of cars from all over the state waiting to go pick a pumpkin, buy a pie and get lost in a corn maze from September to late October. They also have a horse drawn hay wagon for hay rides and pony rides. Those they hire from nearby to come in.
            (well, they do make awesome pies)
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              Why not set up a CSA?

              Here's an example:


              ETA - got some better links for you:

              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling


              • #8
                well, as far as strawberries, you don't have enough land. You will have to rotate and keep strawberries off the field for several years...

                I think you can put in a pretty effective garden on 3 acres, but that's a lot of work.