My Husband and I have been bouncing ideas around for the last few years concerning our future. Over the last couple of weeks or so, the drive to really solidify our future direction has intensified… But I am happy (and proud) to announce that, as of this morning, we’ve finally come to a conclusion.
Initially the plan was to stay in our current home for 5 years, repaying the loan that we took out to renovate it and building out credit up. At that point, we were going to save money to move to another state. This, however, is no longer the plan for us.
The fact of the matter is that moving out of state is costly- especially compared to what we’ve grown accustomed to living here in Oklahoma; we have one of the lowest costs of living in the United States, which means we get a lot more for our dollar in a lot more areas… More-so than is possible anywhere else in the country. We like that, and we’ve grown used to it… One thing we do know, too, is that at some point we are guaranteed to come into 30 acres of undeveloped agricultural land; Heirloom land that my Husband grew up on, and which has been in his family for a few generations now.
Inheriting that land makes it harder for us to move elsewhere in the country and adds an additional yearly expense; selling the land isn’t an option because of its Heirloom status, and if we move then we’ll have to hire someone to take care of the land, or lease it out- we’ll also still have to pay the property taxes on it regardless.
So what do you do with 30 Acres of undeveloped agricultural land if you’re going to stay here? The only options are to lease it out for disposable income, or farm it ourselves. Today, we decided that we’ll be going with option two; we’ll be staying in the area and keeping the land- and we’ll be transitioning a portion of it into small scale agricultural use.
What will we be growing, though? That was actually relatively easy for us to decide on- and the answer is fruit; we’ll be taking an acre of the land and using it as a starter for a small Orchard… One with standard fruits like Pears, Peaches, a few Apple Trees, and other basic crops- but also potentially a few non-standard options that’ll give us a slight edge over the competition (like Tea, Hazelnuts, Pomegranates, and figs).
But why an Orchard? There are three reasons, really.
The first is that it has the potential to be very profitable for us if done right; Fruit is something that’s in pretty high demand around here- but the demand far outweighs the availability of it. The only place you can really get it is the super market- and even then, it’s not cheap. There also aren’t really any Orchards in our area. The ones that exist are small and have pretty basic crops: Apples, strawberries, maybe Blackberries. Only one or two sell at the local Farmer’s Markets- and absolutely nothing within a 100 mile radius offers “Pick Your Own” or similar options.
Secondly, The land is almost perfect for it; there is already a significant, perfectly positioned space on the property that has been cleared, where we can plant the first set of trees. This means that it wouldn’t require much work outside of basic manual labor, fencing, and soil correction in order to get it ready. 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. And if it goes well, there is still plenty of room for us to expand- not to mention the opportunity to get into Beekeeping and other resources that could only help set our Orchard at the forefront of the competition.
And lastly… We have the baseline experience to make it work; one thing my readers may not know about my Husband and I, is the fact that we did actually grow up on family farms. My Husband grew up on a medium scale farm (the very land we’ll be inheriting) that mostly dealt with Cattle and small family crops. I grew up on a small 1 acre family farm that mostly dealt in poultry and fruit; I already know about fruit trees and have practically been doing it my whole life, and both of us have already raised and maintained poultry flocks- which will be an integral part of pest control for the Orchard with the methods we’re using.
So we already have the base knowledge and small scale background in farming which are both necessary- though nothing on a wide scale agricultural level; a lot of study will still be necessary in order to get a successful, agricultural scale grow-op going… But still… We think it’s a great investment for our future, as well as being a goal that is both obtainable and realistic for us.