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What Does a Fruit Grower Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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A fruit grower selects fruit varieties for cultivation, develops agricultural sites and establishes a sales and distribution network to get fruit to consumers. Some fruit growers work as independent farmers, and others are large corporations that might own or control substantial orchards. Growers might partner with canneries and other facilities to have an outlet for their produce, and they sell directly to consumers in some regions.

On a new farm, the fruit grower needs to select appropriate stock by considering the climate as well as the market's demands. Fruit growers also can custom graft their trees, and some engage in fruit breeding to develop new cultivars. This can be lucrative, because a successfully bred fruit tree might be salable to other growers. On an established farm, the work includes maintaining existing trees and making changes as necessary, such as tearing out unproductive trees or replacing unfashionable fruits with more marketable products.

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The day-to-day work of a fruit grower can include inspecting the fields, securing contracts for the crop, hiring employees and developing plans for marketing and expansion. Some growers do not deal with marketing and will simply contract to sell their crops to wholesalers, canners and other agricultural firms. Others might work directly with grocery stores or could plan to sell fruit at farmers' markets and farm stands, in which case they need marketing plans and customer service skills. This work can also include seeking licenses and permissions to sell directly to the public as well as training employees in food safety and customer service so that they can represent the farm.

The fruit grower might attend conferences and subscribe to trade publications for professional development. This can provide access to information about new fruit cultivars and trends in the industry. Professional connections can also help growers build up a client base and might provide access to the newest and most interesting fruit cultivars. A fruit grower might also travel to pick up new fruits for cultivation and participate in marketing and development campaigns for the fruit industry to introduce the public to new or modified fruits.

Professional training is available for fruit growers. Some growers attend colleges or universities for degrees in agriculture, business and related fields. Others might work in family businesses that they plan to inherit. They can receive training from their family members in agriculture in general as well as in the specific needs of a particular site. A fruit grower might also start as an employee to build up skills, then eventually branch out to create his or her own farm.

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pleonasm
Post 3

@croydon - A good fruit grower does have to pack fruit before it becomes fully ripe in order to ship it more effectively. The best way to get around that as a customer is to try and buy from farmers markets or even from roadside stalls, because they usually get their fruit locally and don't have to worry about transport.

croydon
Post 2

@MrsPramm - It's probably tough to work in an orchard with a particular kind of fruit and still be able to eat it afterwards. We had some amazing plum trees on our land when I was a kid and people would come our way from miles around to buy a bag or two that we'd sell off the back of our truck in the summer.

But we moved to the city when I was a teenager and I can rarely bring myself to eat supermarket plums now. Getting them from the tree when they are fresh and warm from the sun and grown without chemicals just makes such a huge difference. I'm always very disappointed with supermarket produce.

I think the other problem is that they are picked when they aren't ripe so they can be shipped around the world without taking damage. That doesn't do much for the taste either.

MrsPramm
Post 1

I dated a guy who worked in apple orchards a few years ago and he was quite snobbish about fruit. I generally just get whatever variety of apple is on sale at the supermarket, although there are a couple of varieties that I prefer, but he was very specific about the qualities and drawbacks of every one.

It was cute at first, but it kind of got annoying eventually. I know people become passionate about whatever they do, but I don't think the most common apple varieties are popular in spite of massive flaws.

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