Apple orchards seeing a rise in visitors this fall
CALEDON -- Apple picking is a tradition for many, but this year has been anything but traditional. On Sunday, cooler temperatures and rain made the trip to the orchard a bit of a damper for pickers, but many were making the most of it at Barrie Hill Farms.
Owner, morris Gervais, says with a 17-acre orchard and precautions in place, they haven't had an issue with COVID-19 crowd containment.
"we've asked that groups limit the size of their party to five, so there is fewer people in the orchard overall," explained Gervais.
Along with standard sanitization stations, mandatory masks both indoors and outdoors, and social distancing protocols, Gervais says they've also made alterations and other features to enhance everyone's safety.
"we've added our wagons with compartments to enable to social distance with other groups, we are sanitizing our wagons between each use," said Gervais.
Meanwhile, at Albion Orchard in Caledon, owner Scott Lunau decided to close the apple picking fields for the day due to the weather.
Last week, the farm saw an increase in demand for apple picking, but according to Lunau, being busy every weekend has been the trend this year.
"oh yeah, there have been crowds," said Lunau. "typically Saturday morning, the cars are lining up to get in, and we're trying to handle it, one family or group, at a time."
Lunau doesn't solely attribute the traffic to the pandemic, but he thinks it helped.
"People are looking to get out of the house, out of the city, tired of shopping at the same old grocery store and doing the same old thing," said Lunau.
Typically apple picking starts around the third week of August, but this year's hot and dry climate has delayed the season.
Pick your own at Albion Orchard is open every weekend through October, but just like today, it's weather dependent. Lunau adds that sometimes the season can go until November, but the final date relies on mother nature.
Lunau expects his orchard to be packed with people wanting to pick their fresh fruit to make apple pies on thanksgiving weekend.