Career Profile: Agricultural Fruit Growers
If you have cereal in the mornings, you might put a few berries or a banana on top. Maybe you eat an apple with lunch or some fruit as a bedtime snack. Have you ever thought of where that fruit comes from? Some might come from your yard, but a lot of it probably comes from farms. The people who help bring this food to you and your family are agricultural fruit growers.
Growing large amounts of fruit can be complicated. Agricultural fruit growers analyze the soil to make sure that it is healthy enough for the plants and decide where to put each kind of plant. Apple trees, for example, need much more space than raspberries. Some types of fruit grow in black soil and others in different kinds of soil. In Canada, two of the major fruit-growing areas are British Columbia and southern Ontario, but other parts of Canada also grow fruit in smaller amounts. The warm areas with long summer seasons can grow fruit like peaches, cherries, and plums.
Fruit grows for only part of the year, but the work can be very busy even during the winter. For example, fruit growers might need to thin out raspberry bushes or prune apple trees to make them healthier the next spring. They might have to add fertilizer to the soil or dig in new areas to find better areas to plant the next year. Owners of fruit growing businesses have a lot of responsibility to make sure that they do whatever they can to help ensure a good crop for the next summer.
Depending on what kinds of fruit they grow, people might be busy early or late in the season. For example, strawberries tend to be an early summer fruit, but peaches and nectarines come much later, close to fall. Many commercial fruit growers are likely to have several different kinds of fruit so that they can have something to sell throughout the season. Studying botany in university or completing an apprenticeship can help, although anyone can work in this area.
Growing fruit can be very risky because bad weather can ruin an entire crop or badly damage delicate fruit. Owners of the businesses might do very well one year and not sell anything the next year because of frost or hail damage. The employees who work on the farm to pick the fruit are likely to earn minimum wage, but their work also depends on weather conditions. If a crop is ruined, they might be out of work for the rest of the season.
Another factor that agricultural fruit growers have to consider is who buys their fruit. Some farmers who live close to cities or towns might have U-Pick fields where people come to get fresh fruit. Others might take their fruit to farmers’ markets, but that also means that they have to be close to the cities. Supermarkets and other large stores are also important places to sell fruit, but the prices that the growers get are not always very high. Sometimes, it might be very hard to make a profit in this business.
Still, for people who love the outdoors and enjoy working with plants, being an agricultural fruit grower can be a very good option.
Durham Workforce Authority. “Agriculture Fruit Grower.” https://durhamworkforceauthority.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Agriculture-Fruit-Grower1.pdf.
Indeed.com. “Farm Worker Salaries in Canada.” https://ca.indeed.com/salaries/Farm-Worker-Salaries
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. “About the OFVGA.” http://www.ofvga.org/aboutofvga