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  • Author or Editor: Olga Sydorovych x
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The costs associated with growing, harvesting and marketing strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) using the plasticulture production system were estimated to be $13,540/acre ($33,457/ha). Net revenue analysis showed that growers would have to charge at least $0.85 and $1.40/lb ($1.87 to $3.09/kg) for pick-your-own (PYO) and prepicked fruit, respectively, and sell 12,000 lb of berries per acre (13,449.9 kg·ha-1) to cover this expense. Break-even analysis indicated that growers would have to charge a PYO price of $0.65/lb ($1.43/kg) and $1.20/lb ($2.64/kg) for prepick berries and sell a minimum of 15,041 lb/acre (16,858.4 kg·ha-1) to cover the projected expenses. However, if a grower received $0.95 and $1.50/lb ($2.09 and $3.31/kg) for the PYO and prepicked fruit, respectively, he/she would only have to sell 10,622 lb of berries per acre (11,905.4 kg·ha-1) to break even. It was assumed that an average of 11.6 lb (5.26 kg) of fruit would be sold to PYO customers and an average of 7.1 lb (3.22 kg) would be sold to customers who visited the fruit stand. Under these assumptions, the breakeven yield of 14,724 lb/acre translates into a requirement to sell fruit to at least 1,539 customers per acre (3,802.8 customers/ha) at the lowest combination of prices while a yield of 10,398 lb/acre converts to a minimum of 1,087 customers per acre (2,685.9 customers/ha) at the higher prices. Customers were also surveyed at direct market operations in Spring 1999 to gain insight into consumer demographic characteristics, why customers select a specific PYO or prepick direct market strawberry outlet, average expenditures per customer, typical driving distances to direct market strawberry operations, and the effectiveness of advertising. Middle age, middle-income customers living within 10 miles (16.1 km) of the farm comprised the largest percentage of customers surveyed at the PYO operations, while middle age, high-income individuals who also live within 10 miles of the fruit stand were the largest group of respondents at the fruit stands. PYO customers spent an average of $10.30, and prepick consumers spent an average of $9.40 per visit. Less than 23% of all the respondents said that advertising influenced their shopping decision while >77% indicated that any type of advertisement did not influence their decision. Overall, convenient location was easily the major reason that customers decided to patronize a specific direct market outlet while personal referrals were second.

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