The Q&A Archives: Profitable Fruit Growing

Question: Is there much money to be made with an orchard. Owning and operating an orchard is something I've always wondered about. How hard are they to start and maintain? Also, what type of information is out there for me to begin researching?

Answer: Orcharding is a rewarding enterprise, although the rewards are not always monetary! I have grown fruit commercially myself and worked with many other producers too. I can tell you that one person may be successful while another, not too far down the road may not. Differences in soil, water, tree variety selection, planting and care mix in with good fortune to influence the success rate. Weather often can be your best friend or worst enemy!

The single best thing you can do at this point is to visit with the County Agent at the Extension Office in the county where you wish to grow fruit. They should also be able to put you in contact with the state fruit specialist at the University of Kentucky for advice. Their experience in fruit growing in your area is a valuable guide in your early fact finding process.

They can discuss with you the potential for various fruit species in your area and the "how-to's" of their proper culture. There is nothing that can replace this early investigating and study. It is the single best investment you will make. Learn all you can so you can do your best to do things right the first time. Resist the urge to cut corners and do things halfway. It is better to start with a very small planting and to expand as you get the hang of it than to start too large and end up with more than you can handle.

Good luck and best wishes for a "fruitful endeavor"!

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