FARM MISSION & VERMONT COVID-19 PANDEMIC  
 
Our mission during the Covid-19 Pandemic is: "To provide ALL customers a beautiful, safe and healthy place to pick Organic (cng) berries / apples as a nutrient dense food source for now and throughout the winter."
 
To operate PYO farms during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Vermont State requires Farm Owners, their Customers and Employees to comply  with All COVID 19 Public Health and Safety Regulations. These regulations, which are subject to change, are issued by Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
 https://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/agriculture/files/PYO%20Guidance%20-%20June%201%2C%202020.pdf

We request that you carefully review the following Vermont Covid-19 regulations so you can decide if you are able to commit yourself (and any children you bring) to full cooperations with Vermont Covid19 regulations. We understand if these regulations are too burdensome for you and your family. For this reason, there's a new option at our online store to order pre-picked berries by the pound. 
https://www.sweetseasonsfarmvt.com/copy-of-organic-cng-fruit
 
We look forward to serving you!
Kevin and Sue Haynie / Sweet Seasons Farm
 
***  VERMONT COVID-19 REGULATIONS FOR PYO & FARM STORES ***
Each business operating during Covid-19 pandemic is required to have a VOSHA Certified Health Officer onsite to assist customers/employees with understanding and following VT. state Covid-19 regulations and to assess and correct any situation where customers or employees actions place health risk to the public. 

1 --- ANYONE WHO SHOWS SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS IS PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING PYO FARMS

While it is possible that a person can be asymptomatic, the state of Vermont's imposed regulations are designed to REDUCE RISK of spread. Symptoms of illness include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, noticeable fever, etc.

When you first arrive to the farm everyone in your party will be greeted and safety regulations will be reviewed. If one person in your party is showing symptoms of illness we are not permitted to allow anyone in your party to enter the orchards.

 2 --- ABSOLUTELY NO TASTING, SAMPLING, EATING FRUIT OR ANY FOOD ON THE FARM'S PREMISES DURING PYO OPERATION HOURS
The tasting, sampling and eating of BERRIES / APPLES in the orchards or Farm Store is prohibited. There's increased risk of contaminating fruit and transmitting the virus in PYO orchards involving the activity of: Hand-To-Fruit-To-Mouth / To-hand-To-Fruit-To-Mouth, especially from individuals who are asymptomatic with Covid-19. 

Coughing or sneezing on berries along with wiping the mouth or a runny nose with the hand, then touching berries and plants also poses risk of contamination / transmission.

 Furthermore, we are prohibited from offering our 'Berry Tastings' & Samples in the Farm Store. We are also prohibited from selling the popular "All-You-Can-Pick-N'-Eat" option. Neither are we permitted to allow customers to eat their own food on farm premises while PYO is in operation. 

Frozen Fruit Bars, Drinks and Chocolate Confections can still be purchased in the Farm Store, and can be enjoyed once you are in your car and on your way. 

Customers and Employees are required to wash or sanitize their  hands under these conditions:

BEFORE picking berries / AFTER using the Porta-Potty /  AFTER coughing or sneezing  / Before picking gathering fruit and products in the farm store

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: During the HOLIDAY SEASON we will bring chocolate samples to your vehicle so that you can taste before you enter the "Holiday Chocolate Shop". Upon entering the shop, you will be kindly asked to sanitize your hands before handling any of the store confections / products. 

3 --- NO GATHERING / CONGREGATING 
Most of us are well aware of the 6' social distancing guidelines. In the PYO orchard, each group must have at least 200 square feet of space to pick, which is approx. 20' feet long and 10' wide. The large blueberry orchard is 2.5 acres with 2,421 bushes. We will describe the berry varieties to you. You tell us which ones you want to pick and you will be assigned to your section(s). You will be given an Orange colored stake with your last name and section number(s). These will be used to 'Stake your Claim'  Others will know that these sections belong to you. You must pick in your assigned section(s). When you are done picking, plant your stake in the ground near the last bush you picked. At checkout, there will be a shaded tent with chairs spaced 6' apart where you can relax while waiting to be called into the farm store to check out. Because Congregating is prohibited during PYO operation this year, all group / children's activities such as: ATV Rides, Holiday Chocolate Making Events, VT Farm Week and use of the Picnic areas are cancelled.

However, during the "Maple Caramel Apple Weekends", Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-4, Oct. 10, 11, 12 and Oct. 17-18, you are welcome to relax in the upper / lower pasture picnic areas and enjoy your goodies while maintaining safe distances. 

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IMPORTANT COVID-19 CONSIDERATIONS  
IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS WITH CHILDREN ---  We are well aware that several PYO farms are prohibiting children or setting age limits to make it easier for them to comply with Vemont's Covid-19 Regulations. While Vermont has no restrictions on children coming to a PYO Farm, their expectations on children are no different than adults. Children must be in full compliance with all Covid-19 Safety Regulations.


We trust that you know your children better than anyone. Please consider what your children are capable of in terms of following Vermont's Covid-19 Regulations. If they enjoy eating blueberries and have had great experiences at our farm in the past with the "All-U-Can-Pick-N'-Eat option, some children will be sorely disappointed and coming to the farm won't be much fun for them, as we cannot offer this option because Vermont Covid-19 Regulations. prohibit eating, tasting, sampling of berries or any other foods. Trust us, we've tried to find work-arounds to do our "Berry & Chocolate Tastings" in the farm store given Vermont's strict Regulations, but the risks of contamination / transmission increases with hand-to-mouth contact. On the brighter side, even though we can't hold our Blueberry Picking Contests, we can still have the 'Blueberry Guess' contest. :-) Winners will take home a pre-packaged piece of chocolate.
Even though we can't let the children run freely to move all the 'Fake Snakes', we will give them a few 'Sanitized Fake Snakes' to play with and put into the bushes of your family's assigned picking section(s). The "Frog & Bug Family" isn't on quarantine and your children can still hunt for frogs & bugs, they just need to remain in your assigned section(s).
We would rather that YOU and your children have good memories of Sweet Seasons Farm than to be emotionally exhausted trying to keep your children compliant with Vermont's Covid-19 Regulations. So for some parents, keeping them at home this year might be best. It's your decision.
Our goal is to remain in good standing with Vermont Dept. of Health, the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and YOU, our AMAZING customers! :-) We need to ensure that health risks are very low for everyone who visits our farm so we can remain OPEN to fulfill our mission:
"To provide ALL customers a beautiful, safe and healthy place to pick Organic (cng) berries / apples as a nutrient dense food source for now and throughout the winter."

SENIOR CITIZENS / PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS -- This year the 'Blueberry Nook' and the first 2 rows in the large blueberry orchard are reserved for seniors  citizens 50+ and those who have physical limitation where they cannot stand for long periods or walk too far. You will see signs that say: Face Covering Area. The seniors and those who are immune compromised will be wearing face coverings in these areas and in the small Raspberry Orchard. 
FACE COVERINGS  --- As of September 11, 2020, Vermont State requires face coverings only if you are unable to maintain a 6' distance. According to the governor's executive order, you are not required to wear a face covering if you are outside, physically exerting yourself, eating / drinking while still being adequately spaced with at least 6', OR if you have a medical condition, disability, limitation which is exasperated by the wearing of a face covering. We are compliant with the federal American Disability ACT, and understand that we have no right to refuse service to anyone who cannot safely wear a face covering. Furthermore, we understand that those with such conditions are not required by law to show proof of their medical condition / disability to any store or business they visit. Customers who cannot wear face coverings are served independently of other customers in the farm store. We welcome kindness and patience but will not permit any public displays of ridicule or shaming directed at customers who cannot wear face coverings while visiting our farm.
The large blueberry orchard and smaller apple orchard  is in FULL SUN and on a hill. Picking, walking, bending, etc., can get VERY HOT in these orchards during the afternoon. Customers need to be able to easily breath fresh air and remain well hydrated. The Water Bottle Refill Station is located next to the Farm Store, so bring your water bottle, hat and sunscreen. 
PICKING & TRANSPORT CONTAINERS  -- Please bring your own transport containers, but leave them in the car until you are ready to check-out. We will provide you with clean, sanitized picking containers. After your berries / apples are weighed and paid for, take your fruit to the tables where you will transfer them from our containers to yours. If you don't have containers, you can purchase recyclable GREEN bags for .10 cents each. 
 
HAND WASHING / HAND SANITIZER --- Each person is required to either wash their hands or sanitize them, (with provided sanitizer) BEFORE picking berries/apples, AFTER using the Porta-Potty and AFTER coughing or sneezing. Hand Sanitizer stations are located in the 'Check Out Wait Area', Farm Store, Porta-potty and the Blueberry Nook.
HEALTH OFFICER / CITIZENS ALERT CUSTOMERS --- Sweet Seasons Farm Owners and Staff members are authorized Health Officers. We ensure that all customers / employees understand and can remain compliant with Covid-19 Regulations while at the farm. Please do not take personal offense if a Health Officer corrects you. The correction should be polite and respectful. 
"Citizens Alert Customers" are visiting PYO Farms regularly to pick fruit and quietly observe to see if farms are compliant with Vermont's Covid-19 Regulations. They will not confront you but will either speak with us or call a hotline to report non-compliance. We are corrected too and held accountable for public safety. Our business is registered with Vermont Department of Health and we wish NOT to receive any of their written warnings, financial penalties or a farm closure for non-compliance.  
 
Thank you for reviewing and carefully considering Vermont's Covid-19 Regulations for PYO Farms. While we would love that everyone come to pick berries /apples / and Chocolate at our farm this year, we also realize that for some adults and children, Vermont's regulations are too burdensome. For this reason, you can place orders for apples, berries and chocolate at our online store to order pre-picked berries / apples by the pound. We look forward to serving you this summer, fall and holiday season!   https://www.sweetseasonsfarmvt.com/copy-of-organic-cng-fruit
 
Kevin and Sue Haynie / Sweet Seasons Farm