Our Orchard

Anna Becomes an Orchardess

My Husband and I have been bouncing ideas around for the last few years concerning our future.  As we reach the halfway mark of our 5 year plan, the drive to really solidify our onward direction has intensified. As of this morning I’m proud to announce that we’ve finally come to a conclusion about it.

Initially the plan was to stay in our current home for 5 years. During that process, we would repay the loan that we took out to renovate our house and build up our credit. When that 5 year timeline was up, we planned to begin saving money that would allow us to move to another state- and boy, we’ve looked at a lot of them. But as of this week, our past plan is no longer the plan for us.

When we’ve asked each other what our dream future looks like, it’s pretty much always included a farm or Homestead of some sort… We simply can’t pry ourselves away from our roots. The good news, though? We won’t have to.

At some point we are guaranteed to come into 30 acres of land. Specifically we’re set to inherit 30 acres of undeveloped Heirloom land that my Husband grew up on (yes, that very same one I just mentioned), and which has been in his family for a couple generations now. Unfortunately, inheriting that land makes it harder for us to move elsewhere in the country- and adds an additional yearly expense.

Call us sentimental, but selling the land isn’t an option because of its Heirloom status; because it’s been in his family for a couple generations now and is where his Grandfather had the original Family Ranch, selling it is completely out of the question. But if we move then we’ll have to hire someone to take care of the land or lease it out to someone who will. That’s not an option that either of us like because… Well… We just don’t trust people very much when it comes to respecting other peoples’ things. And regardless of whether or not we move, we’ll still have to pay the property taxes on it.

So the question for us became “what do you do with 30 Acres of undeveloped agricultural land if you’re going to stay here“? Today, we answered that question: We’ll be staying in the area and keeping the land- and we’ll be transitioning an acre of the land into a starter for a small Orchard.

The fact of the matter is that my Husband doesn’t want to work where he does for the rest of his life. So the goal is to build something that is simultaneously fulfilling to us and profitable for us in the long run… A fruit orchard has the potential to be very profitable for us if done right- and there is a lot of room for us to make a profit while providing affordable, locally grown fruit our area is in desperate need of.

Fruit is something that’s in pretty high demand here- but the demand far outweighs its availability; there aren’t really any Orchards in our area. The ones that do exist are small and have pretty basic crops: Apples, strawberries, maybe Blackberries. Of those, only a handfull sell at the local Farmer’s Markets- and absolutely nothing within a 100 mile radius offers “Pick Your Own” or similar options. So the only place you can really get fruit is the supermarket. However, it’s not cheap to do so; for some reason the fruit prices in our area are double the National Average even when the fruit is technically in season.

We hope to start with a few more standard fruits- like Pears, Peaches, a few Apple Trees, and other basic crops. And later we hope to branch out into a few non-standard options that’ll give us a slight edge over the competition (like Tea, Hazelnuts, Pomegranates, and figs). We also hope to branch out into poultry (for pest management) and our own Beekeeping (for pollination), giving us an even bigger edge. And if it goes well? With 30 acres of land available to us, there is still plenty of room for us to expand.

The land is almost perfect for it, too. Most of the trees on the property are relatively young growth that’s only been there since they abandoned the property. This means that it wouldn’t require much work outside of basic manual labor, fencing, and soil correction in order to get it ready- and we’d be able to expand with significantly less labor when we’re ready. More than that, there is already a perfectly positioned space on the property that has been cleared, where we can plant the first set of trees. There is also a fully stocked pond on the land which can provide adequate irrigation, and another creek close by on the property that can offer drainage from the rainwater- the slope to which can also provide adequate cold air drainage to protect the trees.

We also know how to do it. Though our experiences are different, my Husband and I both grew up on family farms; he on a large farm (the very land we’ll be inheriting) that focused on Cattle and small family crops, and I on a 1 acre farm that focused on Poultry and Fruit. A lot of study will still be necessary in order to get a successful, agricultural scale grow-op going for us, but we so still have the basic experience. Between the two of us, I’m confident that we have the base knowledge we need to get us started in the right direction.

My Husband and I think it’s a great investment for our future, as well as being a goal that is both obtainable and realistic. I’m incredibly excited to see where this takes us.Signature Blue

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