For many, nothing is more exciting than a trip to pick-your-own pumpkins or apples to kick off fall festivities. Luckily, this year most of the local farms will still be welcoming visitors despite a few new safety precautions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many local farms, such as Cooper’s Farm in Sandford and Apples of Glasgow towards Stouffville, will be open and accepting visitors by online appointment only in order to ensure lower volumes of guests.
“It looks like it’s going to be a busy year!” says Dawn Wallman, owner of Apples of Glasgow. “Our booking page opened on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and we were already almost booked up for Saturday and halfway booked for Sunday before Friday!” exclaimed Wallman. She also explained that everyone working at the orchard attended a webinar that was hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. The webinar was put on to help farmers create new procedures for this year.
“This was very helpful. Some speakers included pick-your-own strawberry farmers who had already experienced our “new normal.” We reached out to Public Health with our initial ideas, received some feedback and came up with our 2020 opening plan,” said Wallman. “We are limiting the size of groups and there will be no apple taste testing or rest areas available. We’re still hoping to have an idyllic apple picking experience.”
Brooks Farms in Mount Albert will also be open with limited entry. Tickets will be sold on a first come first served basis, and the farm will close when it reaches capacity.
Lisa Cooper, owner of Cooper’s CSA Farm and Maze, also says this year will be a bit different.
“All of our visitors will be pre-booked online. Our maze, mini maze and pumpkin patch will be open, but we’ve had to close all other activities like hayrides and slides, to limit the number of frequently touched surfaces.”
Before visiting any farms this season, be sure to check your destination’s website before your visit, as opening hours may be different and procedures may be updated as local pandemic circumstances change.
Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos