Editor’s Note: Don’t Make These Three U-Pick Season Mistakes

Don’t Make These Three U-Pick Season Mistakes

While Florida is having an “okay” peach season, Georgia and other growers in the deep south are grappling with the after effects of a lackluster chill-hour accumulation during the fall, compounded by a late freeze, and a current drought— basically your perfect storm for harvest season complications.

Some orchardists in the deep southeast have big challenges ahead— a planned annual u-pick that might prove to offer far less than initially anticipated to loyal (and new) customers.  As a marketing and publishing firm that specializes in the agriculture industry, we often consult with growers about their marketing efforts, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that one thing remains absolutely true: Just because your volume is down, does not mean that your marketing efforts should go down also.  Does that mean that your marketing strategy should change?  Absolutely.  But don’t make these three marketing mistakes when it comes your seasonal u-pick:

  • First, don’t fall off the marketing map because you don’t think you’ll have the volume compared to previous years.  Keep educating the public about your u-pick availability and hours.  Make sure your website, social media, newsletters, etc. all have the latest information.  Your loyal customers will remain loyal this way, and that’s critical for current and future harvests.
  • Second, don’t downplay the quality of your fruit by not talking about it!  Focus on the positive for your followers.  Weather challenges may have brought about less volume, but it’s still the delectable product your customers know and desire.  So highlight that!
  • Third, don’t forget the phrase, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  We all know what this phrase traditionally means, but replace “bird” with “peach” and “bush” with “tree,” and you have my last point, with an equally important message.  Fruit left on the tree does not help your bottom line.  Period.  And one of the best ways— besides commercial harvesting— to get your harvest off the trees and into consumers’ hands is through u-pick.  

So don’t stop marketing your quality farm-fresh product, even if the volume will be light.  You will see it through this season, and I wish you all the best.