Posted guidelines are based on 10+ years of experience managing a pick your own operation. We've seen and heard just about everything and have guidelines based accordingly. We want you to stay safe, respect our property and have fun too. We think all three can be done at the same time.
How much does it cost to go picking? Admission to the farm is free, however, there is a minimum amount required to pick fruit. Crops are normally priced by the bucket or pound. We require that customers pay for everything they pick since we cannot put the fruit back on our trees! Accordingly, please familiarize yourself with our prices and containers so you will have an idea of how much it is going to cost. For prices on specific crops, please call our farm store.
How do you determine the prices of the pick your own? A lot of hard work goes into growing fruit trees. Did you know it takes a minimum of 5 years before a tree produces a significant crop of fruit and 10 years for cherry trees? If you damage a young tree so it needs replacing, we have to wait 5/10 years before we can recoup our loss. We take into account the wear and tear on the orchard, cost to grow and maintain the fruit, trees, water, help hired, and fruit visitors pick and leave lay in the orchard without paying (unfortunately it happens more than you think, which is why we have to price the way we do). When you come to pick please understand you have just spent your
money to visit a beautiful pristine place that otherwise would be off
limits to non-pickers. We are confident in the quality of fruit we grow and know the value of it's worth, you will not find "cheap" produce on our farm, it's big, beautiful and delicious, you are paying for the work that goes into growing it for you to enjoy.
Why do I have to give you my name, phone number and bucket number when checking out a bucket for picking? Our insurance requires each year that we give them a total of how much fruit is picked by our visitors and it also helps keep visitors accountable for paying for fruit they pick.
Can I eat fruit while in the orchard? Sampling a piece of fruit is an expected activity, however, guests must respect the work we put into growing the fruit by eating multiple fruits per family. Put all the fruit you pick into your bucket, not your belly. We ask that one bite (or one cherry, eg.) suffice to satisfy your urge to eat while you pick. The orchard is our livelihood, so we do ask that you pay before you eat. This will keep prices from increasing in the future, supports local agriculture and keeps our farm in business!
I only want to pick one apple! I'm sorry, due to insurance liability, minimum purchase in the orchard is required and specified at the pick your own tent. Many labor intensive hours go into the loving care of our fruit bearing trees. We ask that if you accidentally drop any fruit on the ground to please make every effort to pick that piece of fruit up and place in your picking bag so that no fruit is wasted. If two or three fruits are clustered together, use two hands and gently pick all the fruit in the cluster.
What can/can’t I pick when I visit the farm? When visiting, you are free to pick crops that have been designated as open that day. However, there are many parts of the farm that will not be open, often because the crop is unripe or has been recently sprayed. In order to prevent visitors from picking unripe produce or damaging our developing crops, we ask that visitors not venture outside of designated Pick Your Own areas or pick anything that is not explicitly open for picking.
What should I wear while picking at the farm? Dress in old clothes and worn athletic shoes; you want to be comfortable and not worried about staining or tearing your clothes! If the ground is wet, it will really ruin any nice shoe, so wear your beat up old ones! Wide-brimmed hats help protect you from the summer sun; and in the Fall, extra layers keep you warm. Don't forget sunscreen for the back of your neck and exposed skin. Are there bees on your apple farm? There are lots of bees so be prepared, especially if you are allergic.
How soon before closing time do I need to arrive? Please plan on arriving at least 25 minutes before closing time. Allow more time if you are looking to gather a large amount of fruit or a leisurely stay with friends and family. Do you accept credit cards? Absolutely, we have a $5.00 minimum.
Can I bring my dog? We are animal lovers too, but no pets are allowed in the orchard. We provide a food-safe environment and cannot risk contamination. So unfortunately, dogs are not permitted outside your vehicle. This would violate our GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification for health and sanitation on the farm.
Why do some “chain store” apples look so pretty but have no flavor? Most of this fruit is harvested several weeks per-maturely so they can be shipped 3000 miles or more. Our fruit is harvested at the peak of ripeness, allowing more nutrients and flavor!
Does Draper Girls’ Farm grow “organic” fruit? No. In certain cases a pesticide is necessary to protect the crop from irreparable harm. Pests can be rampant in our region and can take the form of fungi, weeds, or insects. We only apply chemicals with extreme caution and only in circumstances which are crucial to the health of the fruit. Our method of protecting our crops is called IPM, which stands for Integrated Pest Management. "IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks." (National IPM Network). If we were to use only USDA Organic sprays we would be spraying huge doses of sulfur and other USDA Organic approved chemicals every few days for the entire growing season. For us, the most vulnerable time for the fruit is before or during its blossom stage and several applications of protection must be sprayed on the blossoms and the trees to ensure that the fruit will set. Sometimes this spray is simply an oil with an addition of nutrients or other naturally occurring substance such as copper. Any spray we apply to our crops is applied by a licensed pesticide operator and is meticulously monitored for proper dosage. There is a strict formula for how much time must pass before the workers or the public can have access to those areas. In most cases, the actual harvest is months away. The EPA can visit at any time and sample the fruit for pesticide residue and check the records to make sure everything is as it should be. Our own personal distaste for chemicals is stronger than the average person, so we never “go overboard” or look the other way when the health and safety of our family and our customers is at stake. The Orchard is right next to our house. We raised three children in this house. So we are very careful and concerned about what we spray in our orchard. All of us are in good health and we intend to stay that way. We do not want to cause any damage to the bees or other beneficial that share our orchards. We do not want to harm our family either.
Not sure what to do with 20lbs? Since you are picking fresh fruit from the tree, you can store these in your refrigerator up to two months(apples & pears) and they will stay fresh, unlike the ones you buy in the store. You can eat for snacks, send in the kids lunches, can, make butters, jams, jellies or our favorite, make apple sauce, pies or crisps, yummy!
Pick Your Own - How To
Frequently Asked Questions
*** This is an example, prices will be listed when you visit the farm. Prices are subject to change depending on type and variety of fruit ie; Honey Crisp, Anjou pears, plums, peaches etc..
We love being able to open our fields to the public for their enjoyment but we've learned over the years that it comes with a price. For over 11 years we've run summer pick-your-own (PYO) on nothing more than the honor system and the bottom line is our trees and plants suffered. Unfortunately it seemed as though an overwhelming segment of the general public didn't appreciate the actual costs associated with growing and maintaining this delicious fruit, and felt entitled to not only gobble it up but also drive away with it outright. An estimated 40%-50% of the cherry crop was being taken without being paid for! Signs, gentle reminders, even firm scoldings weren't enough to stop people from taking what they wanted. As PYO has become more of an attraction to a wider swath of people, we found we needed to retool the way we operate PYO if we wanted to keep it viable. We understood that we needed to create a system that welcomed people without being taken advantage of. Bringing children into the picking area is a beautiful experience for parents and families and we wholeheartedly welcome them. However, little feet and hands can take their toll, especially on fragile fruit plantings. Teaching children the value of food, respecting nature, living plants and other people's property is a priceless lesson that can certainly be taught at the farm.
Owner, Theresa, is always available to listen to your comments, suggestions and concerns at (541) 490-8113, she wants you to have a great experience. She asks that if you are not happy about something to please not hide behind the internet to complain, she is more then willing to hear what you have to say in person or over the phone to make things right. It's usually a small fix, but if you don't let us know right away we have no way of fixing it. Thanks!
Checking In When you arrive at the orchard, follow signs to the specially designated Pick-Your-Own (PYO) or U-pick fruit stations. Unless otherwise noted, there is no need to stop at the market first. Where to Pick We will show you where to pick, give you the appropriate container, have you read and sign a waiver and offer some helpful hints, tips and etiquette. When you are finished picking, come back to the station to pay. PYO apples and pears are by the bucket only...whether it's 2lbs or 20lbs, there is a minimum charge for buckets.
The Pick-Your-Own Experience Pick-your-own fruit at Draper Girls Farm is relaxing and kid-friendly, a chance to enjoy nature and pick sumptuous fruit. All of our apple and peach trees are dwarf trees, so most fruit will be within easy reach. . We also close off rows that are not yet ripe, directing you to sections where you’ll find the best picking. We also mow and weed grassy areas to give you easy access to fruit. Cherry trees are not dwarf trees and may require some ladder picking. Please take a look the ladder safety video to help you during your you pick experience. If after watching the video you plan to use a ladder, please note that you will be given a release of liability form to fill out upon arriving.