This Year, National Pick Strawberries Day Calls for COVID-19 Creativity
There’s nothing like the pick-your-own experience when it comes to strawberries—sunshine, fresh air, and the first taste of a warm, sweet berry. This year, however, a mask requirement could put a damper on those in-field taste tests.
Whatever the case may be, growers are getting creative this year. Although June is probably the most typical strawberry picking season in the Midwest, growers in other parts of the country and the world are going strong. Take agronomist and FarmQA customer Klaas Plas’ grower De Jong aardbeien (De Jong Strawberries) in the Netherlands. They decided to eliminate pick-your-own this year, choosing to offer drive-through service instead, with customers in vehicles of all sorts taking advantage.
Whether growers offer drive-through options, curbside pick-up or continue with U-Pick, the experience will be different this year as mandated by the CDC and state Departments of Health and Agriculture.
Tips for U-Pick Social Distancing
We’ve talked to our growers and searched the web for some of the most common tips and tricks for keeping customers safe this year. Fruit Grower News offers some very helpful recommendations including preventative measures as well as suggestions for field setup, including:
- Implement cash-less money transfers such cards or online transfers
- Offer handwashing stations and/or hand sanitizer
- Disinfect surfaces (reusable bins, buckets, railings, doorknobs etc.) on a regular basis, several time a day
- Practice social distancing
- Limit access of customers to the field
- Divide fields into zones with tomato wire
- Maintain a directional approach to lead customers through the field
For more tips and recommendations, check with your local extension service or state food safety resources. Enjoy the berry season and stay well!
The FarmQA Team