Best Practices for Pick-Your-Own Operations in times of COVID-19

strawberry bed

Pick-your-own is a key marketing strategy for many NH farms, and it is an important way for farmers to connect directly with their customers. While many farmers are reporting increasing demand for local products, and customers that are anxious to get out on the farm for fresh air and fresh fruits, we know that things will need to look a little bit different this year.  Given what we know about how COVID-19 is spread, some adjustments will need to be made in how Pick-Your-Own operations are managed in order to protect farm workers and customers during the pandemic.

As berry season will be upon us soon, now is the time to make concrete plans and to think through what modifications will be necessary in PYO operations – and begin to communicate clearly with workers and customers. Some excellent resources have been developed by our colleagues in neighboring states that provide some helpful guidelines and information:

-          Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Cornell University (pdf and online versions available).

-          Risk Reduction Options for Pick-Your-Own Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Vern Grubinger, UVM Extension

On May 13, 2020 we hosted a special NH Farmer Forum (featuring Marvin Pritts from Cornell University, Mary Choate from UNH Extension and Mark Hoffman from NC State Extension) to discuss Best Practices for PYO Farms to protect Customers and Staff from COVID-19.

View the full video recording here: https://media.unh.edu/id/1_lcl10chw?width=600&height=400&playerId=30754212

View the slides here: