Recommendations for Agritourism Farms During COVID-19

Autumn brings about celebrations around the harvest and holidays. It also is an important time for our agritourism farms. These farms host activities that provide customers with a unique outdoor opportunity for farm-based entertainment and food system education, as well the ability to purchase fresh produce grown close to home.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers have reported higher numbers at their U-Pick farms, as customers yearn for time outdoors with their families and friends. As we gear up for this 2020 agritourism season of hay rides, apple and pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and more: what do you need to do to be ready to host customers on your farm?

In light of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices will be needed to operate your agritourism ventures. This will take some more planning, possibly adding more staff to your team and training those staff to help manage activities to ensure physical distancing and face covering use by customers who visit.

To help you, we have created “Best Management Practices for Agritourism Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This document provides management and communication strategies for agritourism activities for the 2020 season to support your farms as you navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our team included me, Marvin Pritts (Cornell Berry Specialist), Elizabeth Bihn (Produce Safety Alliance), Julie Suarez (Assoc Dean, Cornell), Laura McDermott (ENY Horticulture Team Berry Specialist), Elizabeth Lamb (NYS IPM Program), Barbara Neal (CCE Tioga County), and Kacey Deamer (Cornell Small Farms Program). We have worked closely with NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to make sure that these best management practices are in alignment with the newly released Agritourism FAQs.

If you are interested in learning more about our recommendations, please join us for a webinar on Friday, September 4 at 12 p.m. ET.

As you prepare for the season, please share with us pictures from your U-Pick farm using #CornellSmallFarms on social media.

If you have any other questions, feel free to email anyone on our team or use  our general program email.

Anu Rangarajan

Anu was appointed director the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2004. At the same time, she opened a U-pick strawberry farm in Freeville, NY. The experience of operating a small farm changed her entire approach to research and extension, and deepened her commitment to NY farms and local food systems.
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