Good Fruit Grower

October 2013

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Marketing Farm markets abound Retail fruit sales capture twice the dollars from orchard land. by Richard Lehnert M any growers whose orchards are in or near urbanized or suburbanized landscapes grab the opportunity to sell their fruit directly to consumers. They do so either from markets they operate at the farm or at the growing number of farmers' markets that dot cities and small towns. In the northeastern United States, this integration of rural and urban has led some of the country's best-known orchardists to add retailing to their operations. During the International Fruit Tree Association's summer study tour in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July, about 200 visitors toured well-known on-farm markets in Adams County and also visited three orchards that have made marketing at farmers' markets their most important way of selling fruit. The IFTA planners, led by Dr. Tara Baugher, Penn State extension educator in Adams County, used the historic Gettysburg location to build a theme they called "heritage and innovation." No better examples of the integration of old and new could have been chosen than the two farm markets, Hollabaugh Bros. and Knouse Fruitlands. The Hollabaughs, with the longer tradition of farm marketing going back to the early 1950s, are in their first year using a facility they built to replace an aging, rambling structure made up of an original building and six successive additions. The new facility photo by richard lehnert Apples This century-old round barn was converted to a direct farm market by the Knouse family and opened in 1994. recalls the original farm-building look, with open trusses and walls of varnished wood, but it's air-conditioned and as comfortable and organized as a supermarket—with more staff having more knowledge. The Knouses, who got into direct farm marketing more recently (1994), have built on Adams County's apple history by marketing from a restored century-old round barn located in what is reputedly the oldest apple orchard in Adams County. It's called the Historic Round Barn & Farm Market. Retailers routinely mark up products 50 to 100 percent, and that's the lure of retailing. Even when wholesalers are willing to pay growers $60 a box for Honeycrisp, that's only $1.50 a pound for apples that retail for twice that or more. Selling retail can be like doubling the size of the orchard in terms of gross income. A key thing to realize is that the people who shop at farm markets are not like the ones who used to show up at farmers' doors in bygone years, looking for produce—maybe with a few defects—at a reduced price. Kay Hollabaugh said they do sell some like that, but they don't advertise it. They charge supermarket prices, or more. Both Bruce Hollabaugh and Brian Knouse were eager to show their horticultural skills to the IFTA visitors, most of whom were more interested in rootstocks than retailing. Not satisfied with your current insurance situation? FRUIT AND VEGETABLE KERIAN SIZER Manley Crop Insurance not the biggest agency in the Northwest... Outstanding personalized service • Over 30 years experience • No agent/policy "realignments" within agency • References upon request An Equal Opportunity Provider Sales closing for 2014 Fruit November 20, 2013 Call Ann Manley today 888-786-7730 26 OCTOBER 2013 Good Fruit Grower GENTLE: Separates without damaging peaches, apples, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes ACCURATE: Precisely grades grape tomatoes, cherries, nuts, and small berries, maintaining that accuracy for larger products including cantaloupes and pineapple FAST: Thirteen standard models customdesigned to meet your needs sort from 1,000 lb/hr to 100,000 lb/hr SIMPLE: Effective but simple design provides a rugged, low-cost, low-maintenance machine at a high value to our customers. It can even be used in the field! VERSATILE: Specialized rollers allow for the accurate sizing of round products (potatoes, onions, and citrus), long products (carrots, russets, and cucumbers), and irregular products (bell peppers, jalapeños, and garlic) KERIAN MACHINES, INC. 1709 Hwy 81 South, P.O. Box 311 Grafton, ND 58237 701-352-0480 • Fax 701-352-3776 •

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