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What berry farm owners say about social distancing

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CARLTON, MN-- From MN to WI, changes start to evolve in the berry industry as two berry farms plan to open with COVID-19 precautions in place.

Spectrum Strawberry Farm co-owner Steve Schulstrom said come opening day, they can expect anywhere from 300 to 400 cars coming to their farm.

"The main thing is we're changing how we're doing checkout," said Schulstrom.

"We're expanding the number of checkouts and we're using social distancing as far as when people are in lines."

Additionally, all employees are required to wear masks and they encourage customers to do the same.

With two large fields ready for berry picking, Schulstrom does not see social distancing being an issue.

"Usually people are probably 10-15 feet away when they're picking anyway. But now we're going to make sure that actually happens," said Schulstrom.

In Bayfield, Rocky Acres Berry Farm owner Brenda Erickson agrees in which, keeping your distance won't be too difficult.

"Most of our rows for raspberry and blueberry's are already 12 feet apart. Our strawberry rows are four feet so we're almost set up for natural distancing," said Erickson. "We have no store, I don't make jams or jellies, our whole operation is outside already.

Erickson adds extra sanitation precautions will also be taken, especially when handling customers' berries. She said, "We're bringing in a lot more hand sanitizer, port-o-potties, as far as the cleansing, wiping things down we're going to do."

Taking all necessary precautions so everyone can enjoy that first berry bite of the season.

Spectrum Farms did not have a set date on when they'll open but are aiming for the first week in July.

As for Rocky Acres Berry Farm, they plan to open June 24.

Both farms are expecting a good crop this season.

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Emma Quinn

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