A pick-your-own (PYO) farm, also called a u-pick, cut-your-own, or choose-your-own farm, is a potentially fun and profitable endeavor when done the right way. Whether you are still looking for land for sale in Polk County, FL or you already have a successful farm, adding a you-pick aspect can increase your income and provide a wholesome recreational activity to your community.
A Brief History of Pick-Your-Own Farms
The first pick-your-own farms emerged in the 1930s and 1940s when prices for certain types of produce hit all-time lows in the United States. The inexpensive prices of these fruits and vegetables meant that farmers wouldn’t profit after paying for labor, so they invited customers to pick their own.
As time went on, the increase in “rural recreation,” or driving out to the country for fun and relaxation, also increased the demand for u-pick farming experiences. Current food industry trends and buzz phrases such as “farm-to-table” and “eat local” promote the idea that self-harvested crops are superior in quality, sustainability, and even ethical standards.
Do You Have the Perfect Property?
The location of your farm is highly important, as it must be somewhat close to a city or town. No matter how beautiful your property or how scrumptious your produce may be, most families are not willing to drive much more than an hour to a weekend recreational activity―and as any parent knows, even that can feel like an eternity with small children. The closer you are to your potential customers, the better.
If you own a farm already, try to be realistic in your evaluation of whether it is a “drivable” distance from the nearest residential area.
If you do not yet own a farm, you are in luck! Though you have more work ahead of you, you will have the opportunity to select your property with the necessary criteria in mind. If you have any questions, our experienced land professionals can help.
Make Sure You’re Insured
Protecting your business is critical. Without proper insurance, just one slip and fall accident (even if it was the customer’s fault and/or they weren’t badly injured) can bankrupt the farm you have worked so hard to establish and maintain.
Remember, a typical farm or homeowners insurance policy will not cover a pick-your-own farm. You will need extra liability insurance. Talk to your local health department or an attorney regarding the laws in your area. Your insurance provider will be able to help, too.
You can find more tips on starting a pick-your-own farm in Part 2.