A step-by-step guide to starting a pick-your-own event on your farm/
Although the concept is far from new, pick-your-own (PYO) farm events are experiencing a boom.
The past few years have seen eager tourists, foodies and families embrace this trend wholeheartedly, and now that spring has sprung, they’re primed and waiting for a new season of nature-inspired fun.
Pumpkins, flowers, and berries are some of the most popular subjects of pick-your-own events (also called U-pick events). But really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what type of fresh grown produce people are open to picking. That’s probably because these wholesome events are as much about getting out in nature and having a wonderful experience as they are about the take-home product… even more so, perhaps.
Feeling inspired? If you own a farm and are thinking of diversifying, there are plenty of reasons to jump aboard the PYO bandwagon. To get you started, we’ve put together a quick guide. Read on to learn about:
Defining your event
Practicalities – insurance & facilities
Defining your prices
How to sell tickets online
Promoting your event
Starting a pick-your-own farm – a quick guide
Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps you’ll need to take to start your own pick-your-own farm event:
Define your event
Pick-your-own events are about so much more than picking produce. From farm tours and family picnics through to breathtaking ‘sunrise events’ where attendees pick produce as the sun comes up – today’s PYOs are jam-packed with fun additional elements.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going for a simple approach, either.
Before you get stuck in planning, spend some time thinking about exactly what kind events you want to offer:
Is your farm on beautiful grounds that would lend itself to tours?
Are you a keen cook or baker? If so, offering take-away foodie treats could be a great idea.
Do you own a vineyard, or produce your own craft spirits or beer? PYOs combined with tastings are a big hit right now!
How much effort do you feel you want to or are able to put into your PYO events? If you’re strapped for time, keeping things simple to start out with could be a wise move. Alternatively – check out how one Ticket Tailor user transformed their PYO farm into the regular host of full-blown music festivals!
Think about practicalities – insurance & facilities
You’ll need to make sure there’s a public toilet available for attendees to use. This could be a portaloo (kept well maintained, of course!), or a toilet on the site of your farm. If you don’t want attendees coming into your personal home or space, portaloos are your best bet.
It’s also very wise to make sure you’re covered with the right insurance. This is to protect you personally, as well as your business, from any potential liability claims that could arise. Even with the best will in the world, accidents can happen, and legal claims can be eye-wateringly costly to deal with.
To find out about what type of insurance you might need, head to our insurance for event planners guide >
Finally, it’s worth thinking about how attendees will be travelling to your event and if you’ll need to provide parking. If there’s no obvious place for people to park outside your property, it might be worthwhile setting aside some land to use as a makeshift car park.
Tip: With Ticket Tailor you can include car-parking in the ticket price, or sell it separately as an add-on.
Assess product availability
Next, you’ll need to figure out exactly when you’ll have enough product availability to invite attendees to pick on your farm. You’ll want to make sure to only run events in-season, when your produce is plentiful – whether that’s flowers, fruit, veg or something else.
Another important consideration is how you’re going to keep aside the produce you need for other purposes. Say, you own a flower farm and sell to local florists. You could either harvest the flowers you’ve already ‘pre-sold’ prior to your U-pick events, or you could set certain areas of your farm off-limits with clear signposting.
Define your prices
Knowing how to price up events can be one of the trickiest parts of planning. We have a whole article on the topic, which is definitely worth checking out:
Asides from reading our guide – some good questions to ask when coming up with realistic pricing for a U-pick event include:
How rich of an experience are you offering your attendees? Can they make a day of it, browsing beautiful land and gardens, or will they be quickly in-and-out after picking their produce? Think about how much you’re offering – and take a look at some similar events to see how they price themselves.
Are your U-pick events going to have a luxe feel with glasses of fizz and romantic photo opportunities? Or are you keeping things simple and rustic? Either way, this should be reflected in your pricing.
How often will you be opening your farm for U-pick events? If you’re running low-key events every weekend, you can keep your prices at the lower end of the spectrum. But if you’re doing bigger, one-off events every now and then, you’ll want to up prices to keep things profitable. Just make sure your offering justifies your prices, as above.
How to sell tickets online
Selling tickets to your pick-your-own farm events online is super easy – thanks to platforms like Ticket Tailor (hi there 👋!).
You can have an account set up in minutes, and it won’t cost you a penny. We’ll then guide you through creating your own online box office page, and we’ll only charge a small flat fee per ticket for your events. Or, if you choose not to charge for entry – we’re totally free to use.
Of course, you can also continue to sell tickets on the door. Better yet, if you use Stripe Terminal or Square, you can integrate all your sales into one platform making it even easier to see all of your online and offline ticket sales in one place.
Head here to find out all you need to know >
Promoting your U-Pick farm events
Thanks to social media, there are tons of ways to get the word out for your events – either for free or through paid advertising. Check out our handy marketing guides to get started:
Using TikTok to promote your events – your handy intro guide
5 last-minute and super effective marketing tactics for recurring events
7 marketing trends that all event planners should know for 2023
Pick-your-own inspiration from the Ticket Tailor community
Need more inspo? Check out these fabulous U-Pick events from the Ticket Tailor community:
Cuddling baby animals and picking strawberries in Washington
We hope this guide has been useful. With a little strategic thinking and some careful planning, there’s no reason you can’t run your own profitable farm events throughout this season and beyond. Let the picking commence!