At Jones Creek Farms we are working hard to make sure our facilities are as safe as we can make them. We know that Covid 19 has caused a lot of uncertainty amongst our customers as to whether its safe to travel this far. The choice will have to be yours but please know that I take Covid 19 very seriously and my wife and I have gone to great lengths to make sure we, our employees and of course our customers are in a safe environment.
Heres what we are doing:
Because our farm store is so cramped in the checkout area we have decided to add on to our outdoor covered area and have this be our checkout location. Keeping everyone outdoors is a proven move towards reducing Covid exposure in itself and we can keep everyone safely spaced in this open area.
Face coverings are mandatory when in or around the store / barn area.
We will have an extra 1 – 2 employees on hand to help keep things running smoothly as far as Covid compliance around the barn / store area.
We will have 2 warm water and soap wash stations. One at the entrance to the orchard and one at the barn.
There will be hand sanitizer bottles placed at several strategic locations on the farm.
No matter what the State and County requirements might be at the moment, Jones Creek Farms requires face coverings to be worn, inside or outside, when around the barn / store area.
On August 20 the governor released guidance covering U picks in the state.
How this change effects you:
All customers visiting Jones Creek Farms will now have to wear face coverings at all times. This means in the orchard too, even if your alone.
Changes to Covid response at Jones Creek Farms.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The Governor released new guidance for agritourism facilities on August 20th. Apparently this is an attempt to separate them out from farm stands and other general farm operations that is already qualifying them as essential businesses. (we have been opperating as an essential bussiness all season)
After reading the governors new guidance for agritourism facilities, released on August 20 it was clear to me, however that the governor has no intention of including all on farm marketing operations in this "agritourism" classification.
This is a welcome relief for us here at Jones Creek Farms since we rely on direct marketing from the farm for most of our income.
It is very important NOT to jump to conclusions when talking about U pick farms such as ours. Some U picks are no more than carnivals disguised as farms, ours is a working farm that uses U pick to eliminate wasteful commodity driven middleman costs. The savings are passed on to us and the customers.
U picks are used as an example of agritourism in this document but we must be careful here NOT to use U picks as the defining characteristic of agritourism. U picks can be a commonly used element of agritourism but that doesn’t mean that all U picks are involved in agritourism.
While I agree with the fact that there are U - picks here in this area that operate as agritourism facilities, Jones Creek Farms does NOT qualify as one.
The definition of agritourism is very widely interpreted depending on location, culture and product.
The single most important ingredient to qualify an agritourism event however is that there be an exchange of value made between the customer and farmer that goes beyond the normal value of the product. This can be as simple as charging a cover charge to enter the farm. It can also take the form of a minimum purchase amount or an inflated price rate for the product.
More ambiguous and complicated exchanges are in the form of labor exchanges and even living on the farm. Then there is the very commonly used component of education. The farmer is charging more because he or she is taking the time to educate the customer as to where their food is coming from, for instance.
Lets narrow it down to orchards. If you do a search of agritourism you will come up with unlimited hits in the eastern US and other parts of the world. Here in Washington, not so much. Then narrow it down to u - pick orchards in Washington and the hits really go down.
Then, here on the western side of Washington State, U - pick orchards are practically non existent. In visiting the handful of orchards that do exist, either on line or in person, its easy to see which ones are agritourism facilities and which are not.