You-pick strawberry farms seeing more visitors because of lockdown


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Yoders’ Farm has never been busier, and the lockdown may have attracted more visitors than usual to pick their own strawberries.

“They’re looking to get outside,” said Lowell Yoder, a partner of Yoders’ Farm. “We’ve all been cooped up inside, so people are looking for something to do.”

Yoder says that with people home from work, weekdays on the farm have been as busy as weekends of previous years.

“We’ve been looking forward to strawberry picking,” said Melissa Tucker, who brings her children picking every year, “and giving the kids something outside to do that’s safe right now.”

This season, she sees it as a way of getting creative with the sudden need to home-school.

“We’re trying to do outdoor learning, activities, kind of alternative ways of learning.”

The farm has also had to adapt, like charging for strawberries by volume instead of weight. That way, visitors can leave the farm once they are done picking instead of having to wait in another line to check out, which would involve close contact with more people.

“The process of coming in here this year has been very easy,” said Carami Montoro, who has come to Yoders’ Farm to pick strawberries for the past three years. “You just pay for the bucket, and you already kind of know how much this is going to weigh, so it doesn’t matter.”

The farm is also separating people into different zones to avoid crowding.

“Actually it’s really easy to social distance out here, surprisingly,” said Montoro. “We were talking about that when we were walking through. The place is so big that you don’t have to worry about being around people.”

Yoder says they might be too popular right now. They’re having to close early most days.

“We don’t have enough berries to keep up,” he said. “So we’ll have to let them ripen up a day or so and then let some more folks pick.”

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the Department has seen anecdotal evidence of a rise in visitors to pick your own strawberries farms, though the spokesperson said it is too early in the season to have specific data.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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