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Berry U-Pick Farms Gearing Up For Season

Fruit farms are considered an essential service as they provide safe, local food to consumers. Farmers are working toward having measures in place so their staff and customers can stay safe.
 
The Prairie Fruit Growers Association (PFGA) represents 70 U-Pick farms in Manitoba. They have been working closely with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Fruit Crops Specialist, Anthony Mintenko, to develop COVID-19 guidelines. These guidelines are for farmers, their staff and customers and can be accessed through the PFGA website at www.pfga.com.
 
“Some of the recommended guidelines for customers will be to wash your hands before entering and when leaving the farm, maintaining physical distancing, and no large groups” Mintenko says.
 
In addition to the guidelines, the Association is working on setting up an appointment booking system on their website which will help farms manage physical distancing.
 
“Some farms may need assistance in controlling the flow of people, by setting up this optional appointment system, it provides our farmers with a tool to help maintain physical distancing," said PFGA President Colleen Edmunds.
 
PFGA also expects to see an increase in the demand for pre-picked berries and are working on setting up an online store for those farms that will need it.
 
Haskap, Saskatoons, Strawberries, Raspberries and Sour Cherries are expected to be ready for picking mid to late June. Practices will vary based on each farms’ specific needs.
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