A number of Albertans contemplate growing fruit for a living every year. A look at what to consider with this potential endeavour.
“It is an exciting prospect, to be sure,” says Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). “Fruit is something that is generally loved by most people. It is healthy, and there are lots of good options to consider.”
Everyone who considers entering the fruit industry in Alberta comes with their own unique experience, knowledge, and approach. Some may already own land and have grown a crop. Others may know nothing about agricultural production.
“Regardless of your experience level, there are resources to help you get started,” adds Spencer. “First, by answering the plethora of questions that need to be answered to make an informed decision, to formulate a concrete business plan, and then to support you as you go along.”
Learn all that you can about the land that you will be using. Explains Spencer, “Get a soil test, look at the topography, and see if there are any wind breaks or shelter belts to offer some protection from the elements. Consider what you want to grow and why. You will have more questions but you will find the answers as you work out a business plan.”
“It is critical you take the time to prepare both yourself, your business plan, and the land,” adds Spencer. “Fruit production is intensive, involved, and generally a long term investment.”
“Find some excellent, inexpensive, comprehensive production manuals to you can use to get a sense of what is involved in fruit production in Alberta on the AF publications page and on the AF horticulture page,” says Spencer. “There are also some good economic overview studies for bush fruit that might help you consider the costs before you incur them.”
Source: Alberta Agriculture