Some of you may have seen our news story on KCWE! If not, you can check it out online or on the news this weekend! We thought you might be interested in the reason for the story! So here goes...
QUESTION: Why are you picked out so early in the season?
ANSWER: 3 reasons - Demand, Supply, Location!
Demand: We believe the overwhelming demand for pick-your-own produce is being driven by 3 factors:
1 - There is a huge push to buy local. This is exacerbated by the Grocers' Buy Local marketing campaigns. Grocers will buy local produce at a premium. For example, we have opened our property to U-Pick visitors and sell our apples for approximately $1 per pound. However, we could sell that same fruit to a grocer for $2 per pound.
2 - So many people are looking for the experience of picking fresh produce. There is a nostalgic component that accompanies that too. Traditions, old and new, are being relived and created here at Wagon Wheel Orchard.
3 - The Easter Freeze of 2007 makes the first 2 components stand out even more. Since no one could get local produce or continue their family tradition of picking apples in the fall of 2007, everyone wants to do it more than ever in 2008!
Supply: We are a relatively young orchard. Our trees have not yet reached their peak production. We are also different than other orchards. Not all of our fruit matures and is ready for picking at the same time. To make it easy for our guests to know what to pick, we flag those trees that are ready for picking at any given opening! It is our hope that our guests honor our picking guidelines and leave the fruit on the trees that will mature for their visit and others later in the season. Year after year, we will continue to see an increase in the volume of fruit on our trees...Mother Nature cooperating, of course!
Location: We are the only U-Pick orchard in Johnson County to our knowledge. There are others in the region but they are quite a bit of a drive for Johnson Countians! It may seem like we are out in the middle of nowhere but in reality, we are only 15 minutes from Olathe Medical Center, 10 minutes from the I-35 Edgerton or Gardner exits, and 10 minutes from the K-10 Eudora Church Street exit!
The Demand, Supply and Location factors have created excitement at having a new orchard in the area which resulted in us being picked out before the season is over! Though the season isn't quite over...we still have one more day of picking apples and pumpkins on October 18 from 2:00-6:00!
QUESTION: How are you going to prevent being out of fruit this time next season?
ANSWER: We are going to continue to educate our guests about our picking guidelines so they are only picking the highest quality of fruit available at that time. This will allow the fruit that should be picked later in the picking season to mature as it should and to be enjoyed by visitors later in the season! Remember, Here at Wagon Wheel Orchard, the rule is simple! NO FLAG, NO PICK.