Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
a good question.....it may depend on where you live....I assume you are near Portland.....as a matter of fact, I was just there in Portland this past weekend not far from the HOS arboretum.
1. If you lived in Utah or in Eastern Washington, I could maybe put you in touch with some fruit growers for whom I have picked fruit.....and they have been doing this for decades as part of their family business and are quite knowledgeable. Some would be too busy, some would chat on the phone for a half hour, and most would require to be paid a fair amount if they made a personal visit.
2. If you were in Seattle, I would tell you everything I know (in two seconds) myself and probably do it for free..... you are right....there is nothing quite like actually being at the place yourself with someone in person.....when I have the time and the place is close to me, I enjoy doing this.
3. If you are near Portland, I know very little about this, but apparently there is a get-together of professionals in late January.....see if you can get this website link below. http://www.oregonhorticulturalsociety.org/
I have found that when I go to a Hort Society meeting I don't even have to pay to go into the classes but can just hang out near the trade show, ask around to all the people hanging out there, and find a lot of willing professionals who are quite eager to talk to me....if they can't help they can help me to "corner" someone who can.
4. Another possibility is to see if an Extension agent near you will make "house calls"......some indeed will if the place is 2 and 1/2 acres and do it as part of their government service for free. You have to call around and find the extension agent near you. http://extension.oregonstate.edu/
5. There are people who read this board who could do it and I am sure could let you know in advance what their standard fee is.....and I am sure that some on this board can respond and maybe even more could respond if you went to an HOS meeting.......
Of course, it helps to know who really knows what and how much they know......but you can get a sense of that.......and don't necessarily have to listen to just one person........I would try to find out what their biases are (organic or not, say) and what their experience is......and then realize that with some things like pruning there are some things that are universally true and some things that are simply different styles depending on different pruners.