I have yet to actually venture into one of the you pick berrie patch/orchards. the last time I tried (one for blackberries) they were closed! they had rather strange hours system posted on the gate. I know there are several here nearby for blueberries and a bit farther north some for peaches.
how exactly to these operations work. do they sell by the bucket? pound? charge by the hour?
I set up a Pick Your Own Vegetable farm this summer in upstate NY. I charged $1.50 per pound for whatever the folks picked. 5 gallon buckets were available for use in the field. When the customer was done picking, I weighed up their harvested items, put them in whatever bag or box I had available.
I took some product to the amish produce auction. 1/2 bushel waxed cardboard produce boxes were the standard packaging device, but was not mandatory. I packed some items differently-2# green beans in ziplock bags for example.
There are no rules to which a PYO operation must adhere. Courtesy, convenience and customer service objectives would determine the manner of packaging and sale. Nonetheless, if you have not patronized a PYO farm, it is a good idea to bring along a couple of buckets, some bags or boxes, a pocket knife or snips to work with.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
I would think weird (yet announced) hours would be a smart thing. Otherwise you have to sit around and wait for people to show up. You wouldn't be able to go to town for errands unless somebody was watching the operation.
I would think it would be good to build a list of email addresses and send out an email to say "we're gonna have a _______ harvest from noon to 3 on saturday."