Fruit Grower Jobs
When you walk into a grocery store you can find any type of scrumptious fruit you can imagine. Blueberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwis, watermelons, pears, blackberries, apricots, raspberries, oranges, tangerines, peaches, grapes, cherries, apples, plums, lemons and limes are all there for you to buy and take home.
Fruit is always available because of hard working fruit growers.
Fruit growers grow fruit. Fruit growers, or fruit farmers, work in orchards, gardens, and vineyards around the world where they prepare, plant, cultivate, propagate, water, prune, nurture, harvest and ultimately sell fruit. The business depends on the quality of the fruit, and a bad year can be disastrous.
Climate plays a major role in what fruit grows where. Washington’s climate is famous for apples. Napa Valley is known for grapes. Florida is the citrus capital. Wisconsin is rich in cherries. Since fruit is picky about where it likes to grow, a fruit grower’s location dictates what fruit he will grow.
Fruit-bearing plants grow year round, but the majority of the work is seasonal. During the slow season, a fruit grower prepares the land, uses pesticides to rid the plants of pests, protects them from diseases, repairs equipment, and replaces plants. If a plant dies, it must be replaced and can take years to start producing fruit.
Most fruit is planted by hand, but machines also plant some. Usually fruit is planted from cuttings or shoots, not from seeds. As it grows, the plant must be pruned by hand to ensure high quality fruit. The lifespan of the plant determines how much work must be invested. A healthy apple tree can last up to 30 years, while strawberry bushes might only last 5 years.
Fruit growers are busiest during the harvest season, which can last a few days or a few months. If a fruit grower has a limited number of plants, he may harvest the fruit on his own, but if a fruit grower owns endless rows of plum trees, he will likely hire seasonal fruit pickers to do the picking. When a fruit grower hires pickers he becomes responsible for supervising the work and training the workers. He must supply picking machines and other supplies that are necessary to efficiently pick delicious fruit.
Before the fruit is picked, it must be marketed to coincide with the harvest. This way they can sell it while it tastes the best. Fruit can be sold at farmers markets, wineries, food processors, distributing companies, grower co-ops, food stores, or even by the side of the road. The quality of the fruit and the market demand determine how much money you will make.
It is a good idea to join the local fruit associations and to attend fruit grower meetings to stay up to date on the latest trends and pomology research. Pomology is the study and cultivation of fruit. This science helps fruit growers fight pests, adapt to climate change, learn better growing techniques, and produce healthier fruits.
Besides going to meetings, many fruit growers attend agricultural school or obtain a degree in horticulture or fruit science. Fruit growers need to be experts at crop production, soil management, orchard design, fertilization, business, management, and fruit. Many fruit growers get their start through Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs. Others learn the trade by picking fruit before they set off on their own.
Fruit growers make $25,000 to $65,000 per year. Cold, heat, and pests can affect the quality and quantity of their crop and the success of their year. One way to make more money is to grow organically or if climate allows, grow rare fruits like black huckleberries or African apricots. These are both hot trends in the fruit growing industry.
Fruit is always in demand. If you have a green thumb, plant some fruit. If you don’t eat it all, maybe you will become a professional fruit grower.
Quick Facts About Fruit Farming Work
Job Title: Fruit Grower, Fruit Farmer
Description: Grow fruit
Employers: Self-Employed, Orchards
Pay: $25,000 to $65,000 per year