Apple Picking During COVID-19

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Ana

Apple trees at Eckert’s Belleville Country Store and Farms.

With the holiday seasons approaching COVID-19 seems just about ready to spoil any seasonal fun. But across America, pick your own apple orchards and farms are still providing this fall-themed outdoors activity!
Even though Apple picking allows for fresh air, it should be through a mask. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while collecting your apples.
Social distancing
Apple picking isn’t a new activity idea during COVID-19. Some orchards can be pretty packed especially at places without timed entry spots. Not to mention the inevitable group of people that clump together at entry and exit areas. And even though the outside is better suited for activities during COVID-19 it doesn’t mean you won’t eventually cross paths with someone. Remember what every health expert has been saying, stay six feet apart at all times.
Sanitizing fruit
Taste-testing the first apples of the season might not be a good idea. With the general rule that you should wash fruit before you eat it COVID-19 just adds a new complication to that idea.
Masks
Even though you’ll be tempted to smell the fresh open field air remember to keep your mask on. Again you never know when you’ll cross paths with someone. Also, many farms and orchards require masks at all times.
Check policies
Every orchard and farm is different apple and policy-wise. Some places require reservations, masks, and handwashing while others don’t. Find the place that best serves your safety.
I personally went to Eckert’s Farm in Belleville Illinois with my family. From the moment we drove into the parking lot we could tell a lot of people had the same idea as us. Even though reservations were required there were still tons of people. The number of people didn’t become a problem though, because the farm took people periodically to the orchard in carts. So there were never any alarming amounts of people clumped together. Masks were also required at all times and there was more than enough space to social distance. Additionally, the farm provided hand/ apple washing stations at the orchard. The experience was overall fun, and the apples were delicious!
Apple picking allows for fresh air even if it is through a mask. Not to mention all of the apple based foods you’ll be able to cook once you’re inevitably stuck at home again. With COVID-19 raining on annual traditions, apple picking is a fun way to find normality and a possible new tradition.