How to Run an Apple Orchard. There's more to running an apple orchard than planting trees. While apple farmers harvest the fruit from mid-August to early. An orchard can offer you a wonderful way to earn a living, but you must know how to run it.
Know the fruit's varieties. Washington State, which produces the majority of US apples, produces 26 different varieties of apples. Each variety has a distinct growing period, taste, texture and color. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Macintosh, Fuji and Gala apples are well-known varieties. Other varieties include Paulareds, Cortland, Macoun, Braeburn, Jonagold and Honey Crisp.
Follow federal and state laws for agriculture. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, known as the EPA, sets the standards for pesticides and other agrichemicals used in agriculture. Consumers prefer less chemically treated produce, which has led to a rise in organic produce. An orchard must run organic operations for three years before it can be certified organic.
Sell apples and other apple products. Farmer's markets, grocery stores and trade and craft fairs are venues for selling your products. Depending on the size of your orchard, you may need to know how to wash and wax fruit, how to store apples in a controlled atmosphere storage area, how to inspect the fruit to ensure quality and how to ship apples to the market. If you plan to sell cider, you may need to operate a commercial cider press.
Offer events at the orchard. Some orchards have gift stores on the farm that sells their merchandise to the public. Apple festivals and pick-your-own tours are popular during the harvest. Educational programs bring in additional revenue for the farm and provide opportunity for the community to learn about the apple orchard.
Maintain the daily operation of the orchard. You must know when to hire extra help for the harvest. Maintaining records for employees, profit and loss and sales must be done regularly. Start a website to advertise and promote the orchard.