To stay afloat during the pandemic and continue providing a space for families to safely pass time, local farms have adjusted their business models and offerings throughout the past year.
As spring begins, these farms have found a way to continue to provide outdoor, COVID-19-safe fun for their communities.
Fernrock Farm — Hillsborough
Fernrock Farm, which is only a 20-minute drive from UNC, is bringing back its "Cut Your Own Flowers" business this spring.
Carrie McCann, the owner of Fernrock Farm, said her business made substantial efforts to create a safe environment for customers, adhering to CDC guidelines in light of its self-guided system.
“People were looking for, and are looking for, places where they can get outside and do something fun in a nice setting safely,” McCann said.
She said her farm will offer a spring session for its "Cut Your Own Flowers" garden, where customers can pick early blooming daffodils, tulips and Dutch Iris. The primary cutting season runs from June to September.
Fernrock Farm has also added in-person, socially distanced classes where McCann teaches customers how to grow flowers. Reservations are required for all activities in order to maximize safety for all customers at her farm, she said.
To make a reservation or explore the offerings, visit the farm's website.
Woodcrest Farm & Forge — Hillsborough
Another Orange County site of outdoor fun can be found at Woodcrest Farm & Forge in Hillsborough, also a 20-minute drive from UNC.
Danny Green, the owner of Woodcrest Farm & Forge, said interest in local agriculture has reached an all-time high during lockdown. Green said this increased interest boosted his activity offerings, since people were stuck in their homes for so long and sought out safe places to get outside and be active.
Green said his farm implemented small-sized blacksmithing classes and farming camps for kids.
Woodcrest also hosts Farm Fridays, where Green and his staff offer private tours of the farm for groups of up to 10 people. Tours are available every hour and a half from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a private experience of the property.
“A farm is naturally outdoor-centered,” Green said. “We’ve adapted in many, many ways to try to meet the current demand, and some of these are timely and natural changes that we made.”
Further explore the farm's 2021 offerings here.
Buckwheat Farm — Apex
Karma Lee, the owner of Buckwheat Farm in Wake County, said her pick-your-own strawberry farm has undergone many structural changes due to the pandemic.
Lee said she adapted to the new restrictions by creating an online store, implementing a contactless drive-thru system, selling products at a roadside stand and limiting the rows available for strawberry picking.
“Families were looking for activities that they were still allowed to do, and pick-your-own strawberries just fell into that category very nicely, so it was kind of a win-win for the public and for our farm, as well,” Lee said.
As soon as strawberry picking season begins this spring, Lee said her farm will reopen the pick-your-own business to the public. Hours may vary based on picking availability and conditions.
Buckwheat also offers blueberry picking during the season from June to July, in addition to selling freshly harvested honey beginning in early July.
For more information, call (919) 303-0339.
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