Blueberry Picking 2020
A Year Like No Other
IMPORTANT BLUEBERRY UPDATES IN BLUE
** See Important Update on Wearing MASKS During Entire Visit
Cherish your blueberries– they are precious and so are you and all farm workers providing your food. We’re striving to make this blueberry season as safe, accessible, and enjoyable as possible in these uncertain times.
We have had to make many changes to keep us all safe and healthy. We appreciate your understanding, support, and flexibility. We are following the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s 2020 Guidance for Pick-Your-Own Farms.
LET’S BE BERRY SAFE!
Rule #1: TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE, stay home if you are sick or have been in contact with someone who is sick. Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member who has not been in close contact with you, to come to the farm to get berries for you.
We will practice respectful distancing. In the fields, we are assigning every other row with separate field entrances and exits. We have clearly marked and spread out queuing areas.
FAMILY SIZES AND AGES
In order to keep groups small and appropriately spaced out, no more than 5 persons from the same household can take a reservation slot.
We love children and young families, but we realize this year it could be too difficult to bring young children. Parents can should think about the following for young children: 1) their ability to stay close to their caregiver at all times and not run in the strawberry fields; 2) their understanding that berry eating is not allowed in the fields; 3) their ability to walk distances since there is no Berry Ferry at the Valley Farm, 4) blueberries take longer to pick than strawberries and can be challenging for young children.
For children under 10, we ask there is a one to ratio of one adult/teenager to each child to help them pick.
All children under 10 must have their own Jones picking container or share the container with one other person (ie. one adult can only share a container with 1 child. Having enough picking containers ensures the children can actively harvest and have a place to put their berries after picking them.
Strollers cannot be accommodated in the picking area due to how we must social distance guests. At the Valley Farm, strollers can be used to wheel children out to the picking areas, but the strollers must be parked to the side and children carried into the fields. At Pumpkinseed Hill, we cannot put strollers on the Berry Ferry.
GUEST HARVEST REQUIREMENTS
The focus this year is on bringing in the harvest.
- All guests, 10 years and older, are required to pick at least 1 Jones basket, or two people can share 1 Jones box to pick into together.
- All children need to either share a Jones picking container with 1 adult or have their Jones picking container.
- See more on our picking containers. PLEASE NOTE, guests cannot bring in any homemade, non-farm picking containers. It is prohibited by the Dept of Agriculture's COVID19 safety protocols.
ONLINE RESERVATIONS AND PRE-PAYMENT
Online reservations are strongly recommended because we could become sold out and not be able to accept walk in registrations. With limited capacity, reservations will be very important at Pumpkinseed Hill. We will post available reservations 1 to 2 days in advance based on weather and crop conditions. The reservation system will keep guest arrivals scheduled to reduce crowds and lines.
Pre-payment online is required for the number of Jones containers you take to the field to fill. No weighing of berries at exit. This reduces transactions at the registers and eliminates the need to place picking containers on scales. After you are done picking, you are ready to head out, no need to check out.
Guests will need to wear face coverings as required by the CT Department of Agriculture Pick-Your-Own guidelines. For Blueberry Season, we have modified our policy that masks are required at all times, including when picking berries. While we work hard to ensure guests are socially distanced from each other during all parts of their visit, we believe masks provide fuller protection when picking berries. Our staff will be wearing face coverings at all times. If a young child is here, those 2 and under should not wear masks, as according to CDC recommendations.
We know wearing masks will be difficult for all of us on the hot days of summer; however, that is the current state policy. If you do not wish to deal with this requirement this year, please join us next year.
WEEKDAY MORNINGS WHEN WE ARE AT THE VALLEY FARM: SENIOR TIME 8:00-8:30
These times are entry times; guests may stay as long as needed to pick (except at the end of the day when we close 45 minutes after the last reservation).
We are reserving the first time slots on weekdays at 8am and 8:15 for strong, healthy seniors, 60 years and older. An adult may accompany them; please no children at this time slot. We will give the seniors there own rows and space a row in between them and other guests arriving later.
We will try to pick in a close field when possible but we like to focus on going to the field with the best berries. Remember with no Berry Ferries, walking will be necessary.
NO EATING BERRIES
This year due to health safety concerns, it is extremely important not to eat berries in the field. All crops are recommended to be washed before eating. This is because they are grown outside where there is a possibility of an animal walking by or flying overhead. Our farm has always emphasized this important food safety measure; this year it will need to be more strictly enforced. As always, wash berries at home before serving.
WALKING AND RIDING TO THE FIELDS
There are no Berry Ferry rides at this time in the Valley. This farm will be for walkers only. The Valley is flat. Most walks are 1/4 mile to the field and 1/4 mile back; guests should be prepared to walk farther to reach their exact picking location.
We will use Berry Ferries at Pumpkinseed Hill due to the terrain; we will charge a small $2 fee per person to cover the cost of extra staffing and vehicles needed for social distancing. More information here about Berry Ferries.
SPREADING OUT GROUPS
For safety reasons, we will remove socializing and congregating areas such as benches. Family groups will need to travel around the farm in their group of no more than five people. Gatherings with other families will not be allowed in the fields or in the parking areas.
The farm has two hand washing sinks at each picking location for guests. Hand sanitizer will be at the entrance area; bringing your own hand sanitizer is highly encouraged.
PRICING AND SELECTING THE BEST JONES CONTAINER
Aspects of the pricing are similar to previous years at the Jones Family Farms. We are still offering the All-You-Can- Carry basket, with discounts when purchasing multiple baskets. However, instead of weighing boxes, we are offering a Box Special for the whole season, where there is one price all the time for the box. For those interested in volume picking, this is a great price for local berries.
New this year: 1 basket minimum per guest 10 years and older; or 1-2 people can share a box
Basket - holds 2 quarts, 2 to 2.5 pounds, All-You-Can-Carry
- 1 basket $15
- 2 baskets $30 ($15 each)
- 3 baskets $38 ($12.67 each)
- 4 baskets $42 ($10.50 each)
- 4 or more baskets $10.50 each
Box – holds 6+ quarts, 10+ pounds, All-You-Can-Carry
- Box Special - $42, flat price
Reusing Your Jones Basket or Box - when you arrive at the farm, we will give you $1 for each box or basket you fill. Please only bring Jones container you intend to fill.
Weather permitting, we pick seven days a week during blueberry season, mostly in the mornings and all day on Saturdays. With the reservation system this year, we will post our hours every few days so we can better determine crop ripening. Please check there before visiting. PLEASE NOTE: we are always closed Sunday afternoons and we close the fields 1 hour after the last reservation time slot.
Sorry, no pets are allowed during our berry seasons, nor duiring pumpkin season or at the winery.
WEATHER AND CANCELLATION POLICY
If we close the farm for severe weather such as thunderstorms, we will offer you a refund or credit. We do pick in light rain. This is one reason that we are not posting reservations for the whole season so you know the weather forecast.
If you cannot pick due to illness, contact us as early as possible (ideally one day in advance or in the morning by 9 am) at email@example.com and we will send you a credit certificate for you to reschedule your visit.
No refunds for those who do not show for their appointments, since it is likely we had to turn other guests away for that time slot.