"Renting one apple tree costs $55, and depending on the harvest, we could walk away with anywhere from 80 to 120 pounds of apples. That works out to 68 cents to 45 cents per pound for organic apples!"Here's an excerpt from Earth First Farms' Rent-A-Tree FAQ page:
-Yield varies based on the tree, the year, and the weather, among other factors. We usually expect to harvest 2 or 3 bushels of apples from each tree in an average year. At about 40 pounds per bushel, that means 80 to 120 pounds of apples. In a bumper year, you may harvest up to five bushels from a single tree.
-Expect about 60% of your tree’s apples to be ready for fresh eating, and about 40% that you will want to juice, sauce, or make into pie filling.
-For more information about individual varieties, read our varietal descriptions.
-There are no guarantees as to picking dates, though we can give you estimates based on previous years. We test your apples as they begin to ripen, and when the sugar content shows that they are ready to pick, we let you know immediately. We try to give you a week’s notice to plan a trip.
-All the apples from your tree can be picked in one trip to the farm.Renting a tree takes many of the limitations to living in the city out of the picture. Most of the work and maintenance will be done by the farmers who own the trees, while you get to reap the rewards of the harvest!
The cost to rent a tree for the year is $55.
This new trend is still fairly unknown, however word travels quickly once people start to discover this great idea. One Cherry orchard in England has already rented out all of their trees through 2015 after a news story was done about their farm.
"Dallaway launched Rentacherrytree in 2008, and found renters for 300 trees almost immediately. By the following year he had let 500 trees, and this year his whole orchard is taken (bar the 500 trees he keeps aside to supply local markets and farm shops). Those who rent a cherry tree can come and see it in full bloom each spring, picnic in a field among the blossom, and then return in the summer to pick the fruit. They also receive a bi-monthly newsletter and are invited to a hog roast during the picking, and each September they can renew their option for the following year. (Roughly 500 trees become available again each September, so now is the time to join the waiting list for 2014.)"Most orchards will keep you up to date via email about the progress of the tree you rented. Depending on the type of agreement you choose, you may be able to go and pick the fruit from your tree when it is ready for harvest or choose to have the fruit picked and shipped to you.
Find out if any farmers near you have and tree rentals or leasing programs. If they don't, then talk to them about it! It's a win for the farmer who is able to basically pre-sell his produce, and the consumer which will get awesome organic fruit at below wholesale prices.