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Purdue Extension: Expert Resources for COVID-19
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AGRICULTURE: A Guide for U-Pick Producers / Agritourism Sites During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 12, 2020
Blueberries Ready for Picking

Spring’s arrival brings many wonderful experiences — including the opportunity for local consumers to pick farm-fresh produce onsite, learn more about local outlets through agritourism and enjoy time outdoors.

The U-Pick season, as it’s known, is just around the corner for strawberries, blueberries, cherries and more. Now is the time to implement best practices to maintain physical distancing, minimize community spread of COVID-19 and safely sell products.

These guidelines go hand in hand with Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s executive order, as well as Purdue Extension COVID-19 resource articles for direct marketing, farmers’ markets and more. U-Pick and agritourism activities are deemed essential due to their agricultural connection. Also, the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association has summarized practices implemented by southern U.S. states — where U-Pick season has already started.

Not all U-Pick and agritourism operations are the same. The suggestions below are intended as a starting point. Remember: You are responsible for complying with all federal, state and local guidelines. Recommendations and best practices are also subject to change in light of newly provided information about COVID-19.

This guide can help U-Pick producers and agritourism outlets navigate these uncertain times by offering ideas on:

 

Changes to Logistics

It is important that any U-Pick or agritourism operation complies with current executive orders. This includes limiting the number of people attending an event. The most up-to-date information can be found at Indiana’s Back on Track website

 

Customer Interactions

Maintaining regular, informative contact with customers is the best way to successfully implement any new procedures or policies. This way, customers will know about your efforts to minimize potential community spread of COVID-19 and keep all involved healthy.

Download an example of signage you can use.

Alternative Methods

Remember: Just because U-Pick or agritourism activities are permitted, you don’t have to continue them. If you feel you aren’t able to safely handle this influx of customers to your farm — or simply prefer not to — consider converting to an alternative delivery method.

 

Authors 

Tamara Benjamin, Assistant Program Leader and Diversified Agriculture Specialist, Purdue Extension

Bruce Bordelon, Professor of Horticulture at Purdue University and Purdue Extension Commercial Viticulture & Small Fruit Production Specialist

Anne Brummet, Owner, Annie’s Orchard (West Lafayette, Ind.)

Steve Engleking, County Extension Director and Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Purdue Extension, LaGrange County

Wenjing Guan, Clinical / Engagement Assistant Professor of Horticulture at Purdue University and Purdue Extension Commercial Vegetable and Melon Production Specialist

Sarah Hanson, County Extension Director and Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Purdue Extension – Johnson County

Abby Heidenreich, County Extension Director, Purdue Extension – Orange County

Peter Hirst, Professor of Horticulture at Purdue University and Purdue Extension Commercial Tree Fruit Production Specialist

Dana Huber, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards (Borden, Ind.)

Elizabeth Maynard, Clinical / Engagement Associate Professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University and Purdue Extension Commercial Vegetable Production Specialist

Suzi Spahr, Executive Director, North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association

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