Pick Your Own is OPEN ♥

Yes…Local as Usual, Safer than Ever.  

Pick Your Own strawberry farms opened this past weekend. Get out there and pick the delish! There is nothing like ripe berries. So good. Each berry that comes into season is better than the last. And Pick Your Own keeps the farms that feed us in business. If you are healthy, have cash flow, and are okay with the guidelines, you can impact local business success by picking strawberries and/or future PYO crops. A win-win. 

Here are the details on new guidelines for Pick Your Own, and remember, always call ahead before you go to be sure the farm’s PYO is open that day, as well as to familiarize yourself with the farm’s COVID-19 adaptations.

Pick Your Own is allowed in both New Hampshire and Vermont, and you can search for PYO farms in the Vital Communities Guide. New Hampshire farms have best practices from the state and Vermont farms have Guidance from the state, so you can be sure farm PYO guidelines are based on the known science and rules.

What is different this year: 

  • Kids under 13 may not be allowed to pick. As Edgewater Farm says, it’s the saddest rule ever. It’s the rule in Vermont and some New Hampshire PYO will be adopting the rule. It’s just hard for kids to stay in place, and not eat …
  • You may not be able to eat on site, including during picking. A rule in Vermont, possibly adopted at New Hampshire farms.
  • To create social distance, Vermont PYO must have no more than one person per 200 square feet of picking area, and people must maintain six feet of distance. Again, New Hampshire farms are largely following this rule. You may need to wait for space to open up before you can go into the fields, so get your patience ready.
  • Wear face coverings! It’s suggested, and farms are allowed to require it.
  • Picking containers will either be your clean ones from home, disposable ones provided by the farm for you to take home, and/or farm containers that stay on-farm and are disinfected after you use them. 

Upper Valley PYO includes currants, summer raspberries and fall raspberries, blueberries, pumpkins, apples, elderberries, flowers, and more. You can be sure we will announce each crop on Instagram as it comes in. 

To read the Guidance in Vermont, click here. To read the New Hampshire best practices, click here.

Valley Farm Fresh Connects Consumers with Local Farms & Food

Finding and enjoying local foods from Upper Valley farms just got easier with Valley Farm Fresh, a new marketing campaign launched by Vital Communities.

Valley Farm Fresh encourages Upper Valley consumers to buy local foods from the region’s many farmers through an improved, mobile-friendly Valley Food & Farm Guide, recipes and educational materials, and a calendar of farm-related events – all available online at ValleyFarmFresh.org.

“We’re excited to launch the Valley Farm Fresh campaign to help connect consumers with the Upper Valley’s diverse farms and the local foods they produce,” said Becka Warren, Valley Food & Farm manager at Vital Communities.

“Our recent in-depth market assessment revealed, among other things, that farms want to sell more product direct to consumers, while consumers need better resources to help them find and use local foods. The new campaign works toward both of those goals. The new cooking tips and recipes provided at ValleyFarmFresh.org are all about our region’s foods. For example, our recent blog post about defrosting meat in a hurry is focused on helping consumers use meat from local farms.”

Supported through a grant from the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program, Vital Communities’ Valley Farm Fresh campaign is a multi-channel effort to raise the visibility and accessibility of local farms and food within the Upper Valley, and to increase the region’s direct sales from farmer to consumer. The campaign features online resources, Facebook and Instagram outreach, advertisements, and printed recipes and information for farmers to share at their farmstands and markets. To learn more, visit ValleyFarmFresh.org or contact Becka at Becka@VitalCommunities.org.