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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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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Many materials can be made available in alternative formats for ADA clients. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964.
 

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