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Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Do U-Pick?

Food industry trends have led to the increased popularity of U-Pick farms, or Pick-Your-Own farms. U-Pick farms have a mutually beneficial relationship between the consumer and the farmer. Consumers are able to be connected to their food by self-harvesting affordable, high quality crops. Farmers benefit by selling directly to customers, and by consumers self-harvesting, the farmer has lower labor and equipment costs. U-Pick products include tree fruit, berries, and seasonal crops, like Christmas trees and pumpkins. U-Pick farms can be found during any season and products differentiate depending on the region and climate.

Check out these great U-Pick resources:
A Farmer’s Guide to a Pick-Your-Own-Operation: All you need to know about U-Pick operations. This report is full of advice on what to consider before starting a U-Pick and examples of already running U-Pick operations.

PickYourOwn.org: Find a Pick-Your-Own farm near you! This website shows you where U-Picks are located, when crops are ready, recipes to use, and how to freeze, dry or preserve U-Pick crops.

Operating a Pick-Your-Own Strawberry and Pumpkin Farm: A family shares how a U-Pick operation is a constant learning experience.

U-Pick Market Success – Americans are ripe for the nostalgia of U-Pick farms. Learn what’s involved in an operation and how one family succeeds with their “labor of love.”

How U-Pick Farming Can be a Sustainable Option For Your Operation – U-Pick farms can be a little scary, but see why they can be a great addition to your operation.




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VAPG Spotlight

Marharishi World Peace Vedic Organics, located in Marharishi Vedic City, Iowa, is working with establishing markets for organically grown products in grocery stores, restaurants, the Fairfield-Cedar Rapids-Des Moines corridor, as well as major grocery chains.

The USDA Valued Added Producer Grant was instrumental in getting their operation going from a working capital point of view during their first year of 2003-2004. The VAPG allowed them to grow from one small hoop house to a 540’x98’ (51,840 square foot) greenhouse in 2004. By 2008 they had to expand to another 25,920 feet to accommodate demand for their organic, grown-in-round vegetables.
Marharishi World Peace Vedic Organics can be reached by phone: 641-469-7010, by email: mayor@marharishivediccity-iowa.gov, or by mail: 1973 Grand Drive, Marharishi Vedic City (Jefferson County), IA 52556.


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