Connecticut farmers

‘Pick Your Own' Season About to Pick Up at Local Farms

A true sign of summer – “pick your own” season is about to return for many of our local farms. But there are a few changes you need to keep in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The start of June marks the beginning of “pick your own” season at many Connecticut farms.

Despite wild weather this spring, local farms are almost ready to open their fields to families to pick their own fruits and veggies.

"We started the season really going into March and April very much ahead of regular timing,” said John Lyman, Executive Vice President of Lyman Orchards. “And it's been so cool that we got back to normal on our schedule for the crop."

The cool start to May slowed down crops quite a bit, but with the unseasonable chill behind us, the fields and orchards are filling up. Strawberries will be the first to pick, followed by raspberries, blueberries, and so many other summer favorites.

"For us, the season starts in June and goes all the way through to early November," Lyman said.

But pick your own season will look different this year because of COVID-19.

"We're going to limit the number of people who can go into the field at any given time, just to allow for social distancing."

And instead of paying by the pound like in the past, Lyman Orchards is making some changes.

"We're going to actually go into a system where you pay upfront for the container so you go in, you can pick and then leave so there won't be the requirement to come back and check out which tends to create lines."

Orchards and farms across the state are getting creative when it comes to keeping business going and their products available. Instead of “pick your own”, it will be “pick up your own” at Rose’s Berry Farm Stand in Glastonbury.

They also have other fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and so much more. And later this summer they’ll open a spot for outdoor breakfast to enjoy.

Rogers Orchards in Southington and Bishops Orchard in Guilford are both offering online ordering with curbside pickup throughout the summer.

And amid the pandemic, Lyman Orchards said they have seen a silver lining for their business.

"We've seen an increase in our business from local customers who come to the store to do a lot of their grocery shopping,” Lyman said.  “So our business has been pretty strong so we feel fortunate about that."

While summer events have been canceled, Lyman Orchards recently built a brand new deck at the Apple Barrel Farm Market with outdoor seating.  And starting this weekend you’ll also be able to dine outside at the clubhouse by the golf courses. 

"There's plenty of activities still to do whether it's picking, going to the store, we added ice cream to the store so people can come get ice cream and still enjoy themselves."

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