Same Apples, Different Process At Orchards This Fall

Throughout New England, staff at apple orchards are adjusting to the pandemic

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Joanne Roden at Brooksby Farms in Peabody says last weekend provided the perfect storm for apple picking. The Patriots played a night game and the weather was great, so everyone woke up with the same idea.

But this year, the experience is a little different. At Brooksby Farms, the pandemic brings precautions.

Joanne points to a number of changes.

"We did a lot of fencing off and sectioning off. Directing people to go in the right directions," she said. "We set up hand washing stations. As everybody goes in they need to handwash before heading out to the orchard."

She says a busy summer helped prepare them for this and people get it.

“They're just happy to be out and if it means that they have to wear a mask and do some few precautionary things to get out and have fun they’ve been okay with it.”

That doesn't mean that there aren’t challenges.

Julie Bradbury says being outside helps.   

"The distancing kind of happens on its own."

Her friend Kate Commendatore added that, on this day, “It is very hot outside though so it’s very hard to wear the mask.”

Most, though, say it’s all good.

"To be honest with you It really doesn’t feel that much different." said Chris Baratz. "Obviously you’ve got the restrictions, everything like that, the hand sanitizing, the masks. Everything like that. But you’re open. There aren’t that many people. Good social distancing so I don’t see it being a problem."

Bob Stankus feels the same.

“I don’t see a difference, not necessarily a huge difference other than obviously people wearing masks and a little bit more restrictions,” he said.

The pandemic could shorten the picking season. With so many people coming out so early Joanne says they may run out of apples sooner than usual. 

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