It is the strategy of the Wilson Family Peach Farm to capitalize on the extensive agricultural knowledge of Dr. Wilson and his well established reputation in order to produce and market high-quality peaches/nectarines. Furthermore the Wilson's plan to develop and produce new varieties and hybrid fruit to introduce to the general public. This will be done through Dr. and Mrs. Wilson's own research and by allowing University of Georgia staff to use limited acreage for experimental purposes.
Promotion of sales will be through the various local farmer's co-ops and groups that will act as the brokers between the farm and the distributors.
Wilson Family Peach Farm's competitive edge is the agricultural knowledge of Dr. Wilson and his close contacts at the University of Georgia Agriculture department that offers the opportunity to introduce new methods and processes in stone fruit farming well in advance of other local farmers.
Marketing is the most important factor to be considered before venturing into the orchard business. The hard facts are that to be profitable, a small, new operation needs to be related to a retail sales outlet either on the farm or in a community nearby. In view of current retail and wholesale prices, the wholesale fruit business is too hazardous for a newcomer to justify the risk involved. There is a "jobber" market, in which you as a grower may sell directly to retail markets in nearby cities. While this is by definition "wholesale," it provides better returns than the regular wholesale marketing channels.
The processing and juice markets are chronically too low priced to be considered, unless a specialty market is pursued. It is at present a way of salvaging off-grade fruit.
For retail sales or pick-your-own to be effective and profitable, the farm location in relation to an adequate population base is very important. Competition: Is there a window of opportunity in your community? Is there room for another retail orchard operation? Of course, aggressive marketing can make room, but sales are much easier when competition is reduced. A community will only consume so many apples. If more than that amount is produced, then the surplus must be "exported."
Three of the primary success factors in this type of operation are: location, location, and location. Good, well-traveled roads - close to a population center - and an attractive, accessible, convenient site are all-important factors, too. Of course, these factors will not bring success without good management and marketing strategies.
The forecasted yields are approximately 500 bushels per acre and the assumed price per bushel is $15.00 based on a five year average. These assumptions are also a conservative estimate based on yields averaged over a ten year timespan to incorporate variable weather patterns. All profits are earned in the late winter early fall months as the owners begin to sell 90-day futures contracts on the crop. Peach and nectarine harvest begins in May, peaks in July, and ends in August.
The following table and charts outlines the sales forecast for Wilson Family Peach Farm for the next three years.