Pick your own fruit and veges

Pick your own produce is a summer tradition for many, especially for people who like to make fruit preserves and canning treats.

Pick your own produce is a summer tradition for many, especially for people who like to make fruit preserves and canning treats.

Such an operation must be carefully planned and run well to be profitable. Pick your own produce farms tend to see more business in economic downturns and pick your own is more appealing when the economy is tight. Here are some tips to start your own business:

l Choose what fruits and vegetables you will sell. Fruit tends to have higher sales than vegetables, although unusual crops such as flowers may sell well in the right location. Keep in mind your local competition and climate.

l Market your own business. List your farm or business on a website. You can also advertise your business in your local community media.

l Make signs and put them in key locations. Signs should be at the major intersections near your business, advertising your location and what produce is available.

l Record a message on a dedicated phone answering machine to give information to callers when you're not available. The message should mention the hours of operation, in-season crops and prices. Return all messages.

l Keep your location presentable, tidy and safe. The appearance of your farm will play a large role in the percentage of return visitors to your pick your own operation.

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