PEI

Apple orchards adapt picking policy for COVID-19

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but that hasn't stopped U-pick operators on P.E.I. from taking extra precautions this year because of COVID-19.

U-pick operators say apples looking good despite dry summer

Mark Ashley says the Paula Reds at Wintermoor Orchard are ripe and ready. (Mark Ashley)

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but that hasn't stopped U-pick operators on P.E.I. from taking extra precautions this year because of COVID-19.

Barry Balsom, who runs Arlington Orchards near Tyne Valley, said the grounds will be divided into three zones and customers will be limited to one hour of apple-picking.  

A maximum of 50 people will be allowed in each zone, which will have its own washroom and hand-washing facilities. Wednesday mornings will be reserved for seniors and people with compromised immune systems.

Balsom said customers will purchase apples by the bag instead of by weight.

"That, of course, keeps handling and interaction between our employees and families to an absolute minimum," he said.

The Greensleeves should be among the next apples to ripen, Wintermoor Orchard's Mark Ashley says. (Mark Ashley)

Balsom said the apples are looking good despite the relatively dry summer.

"We've been really lucky. Come August I was getting a little bit worried," he said.

'Sizing up beautifully'

"They're just sizing up beautifully."

Wintermoor Orchard in York is another orchard adapting to the pandemic.

Some of their changes include adding sanitizing stations and extra scales, to cut back on lineups.

Co-owner Mark Ashley said the the crop is "beautiful" this year. The Paula Reds are ripe and ready to be picked. Crabapples, Red Gravensteins and Greensleeves are next, he said, and the Cortlands and Spartans have about three more weeks to grow and ripen to be ready in early October. 

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With files from Island Morning

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