Contra Costa County U-Pick farms to open this weekend despite stay-at-home orders

Bay Area

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Cherries are blooming in Brentwood and many farms are preparing for the start of U-Pick season, when thousands of people flock to Contra Costa County to pick their own fruit.

But this year — might look a bit different.According to the Contra Costa County Health Department, U-Pick farms fall under an essential business, similar to a grocery store or a farmers market. Despite coronavirus and the shelter in place, U-Pick farms will start opening this weekend.

“If you want some cherries, you should be able to pick some cherries,” Lindsey Saylor said.

While some people are looking forward to getting out there, not everyone is certain that the orchards should open.

“What if they put their hand on the cherry and then decide they aren’t going to pick it and the next person comes?” Alli Cecchini said.

All Cecchini is the owner and operator of The Urban Edge Farm. 

“From a personal stand point having a family, a young family and a multi generational family living in the house — I’m terrified of the exposure,” Cecchini said. “I cant imagine a truly safe way to have groups of people even if they are keeping their distance they are touching everything.”

Cecchini is going to wait to open up her orchards and first see how it goes for others in the area.

“If the U-pickers come up and they are super respectful and there aren’t massive bus loads of them then sure let’s do it,” she said.

While some of you shared the same thoughts on Facebook, others can’t wait for the start of the season. A season many farmers rely on and many families are excited for.

“I think if they can open and maintain social distance and keep things clean they should be able to do that,” Saylor said.

“It’s, I would say, not the same, but the same as going to grocery stores,” Emily Haynes said. “You are going to the grocery store and you’re going to be around people there anyways.”

If you do decide to come to Brentwood for U-Pick season there are some new rules this year. They are only allowing a certain amount of people into the orchards at a time and if you touch it — you pick it.

And of course you have to wear a mask while you are out in the orchard and stay at least six feet apart from others.

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