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Strawberry farmers take extra precautions amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 20:27:33-04

BRISTOL — Strawberry picking is underway in Wisconsin but due to coronavirus concerns, farmers have had to adjust the way they run their business.

Scott Thompson is the manager of Thompson Strawberry Farm located in Bristol. The fourth-generation strawberry farmer said this year has been anything but ordinary.

"This is definitely a whole new ballgame. You know when things were happening in March, we were like how is this going to affect us? Are we going to be able to be open?" said Thompson.

The farm has 22 acres of planted strawberries and Thompson said people naturally tend to social distance when picking strawberries.

“We can really spread out a crowd,” said Thompson.

To adjust to COVID-19 concerns, employees will be wearing gloves, masks and have extra sanitizer on hand and their pre-made strawberry baskets will sit out for up to 72-hours before anyone can purchase them.

"We are not requiring a mask while you pick however we ask that everyone wears a mask while close to other customers or our employees," said Thompson.

Other strawberry farms are making changes as well, at Mayberry Farms in Mayville, they are no longer weighting flats to determine the cost of strawberries. Instead, they are selling customers a bucket at a flat fee, in hopes to reduce person-to-person contact.

“Little tweaks here and there but which is really fortunate that our whole business basically is natural social distancing,” said Scott.

Strawberry season lasts about a month, and Scott is already looking ahead to keeping people safe during his next crop, Sunflowers.

“We planted 10 acres of sunflowers so we’re going to do pick your own sunflowers and ours is a little bit different where I planted 14 separate fields that big grass pathways in between so you can put strollers and you can walk around and then not have to get into close proximity between other people.

Thompson expects this season to be one of their busiest.

To learn more about the farm or to check on strawberry updates, click here.

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