The Pick-Your-Own Restart Plan is intended to support Vermont farms that offer pick-your-own opportunities to safely invite customers to their farms. Pick-your-own agricultural producers, including cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, berry farms and orchards, must follow the Agency of Commerce & Community Development’s Phased Restart Work Safe Guidance, including the following:
- Mandatory Health & Safety Requirements for all Business, Nonprofit, and Government Operations
- Sector Specific Guidance for Retail Operations
- The Agency of Agriculture's Pick-Your-Own Restart Plan (Updated September 14, 2020)
Improving Handwashing Stations – University of Vermont Extension
Adapting Your Vermont Pick-Your-Own Operation in Response to Covid-19 – Webinar and Resources
A co-presentation offered by NOFA-VT in partnership with Vermont farmers, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and UVM Extension to help growers plan adjustments to their u-pick operations in summer 2020.
- Risk Reduction Options for Pick-Your-Own Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic – University of Vermont Extension
- Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Cornell University
- Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19 – University of Vermont Extension
- Best practices for managing Farm Visitors from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets’ Produce Program
- Download COVID-19 Reopening and Training Plan Templates from the Vermont Agency of Commerce, Community and Development
- Download and print signs to communicate with customers:
- Reopening Signage from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
- Posters and Infographics from the Vermont Department of Health's COVID-19 Resources page
- Print Resources for Businesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 Communications Resources page
- Farm Visitor Signage from the Vermont Agritourism Collective's Safety, Liability, and Regulations page
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What guidance applies to Christmas tree farms?
A. It depends upon the operation’s specific activity. Importantly, every business is required to follow ACCD’s work safe guidance, so those health and safety requirements apply to all types of business activity. Please see ACCD’s applicable health and safety requirements at the following link: https://accd.vermont.gov/news/update-new-work-safe-additions-stay-home-s... In addition, more specific guidance applies when it governs a particular business activity. As an example, a tree farmer follows ACCD’s retail guidance when selling trees. See https://accd.vermont.gov/news/update-new-work-safe-additions-be-smart-st... And, a tree farmer with a cut-your-own operation follows the Agency’s Pick Your Own (PYO) Restart Plan, which is available here: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/agriculture/files/doc_library/Pick... . If a tree farmer has another distinct business operation—like a restaurant—then ACCD’s more specific applicable guidance applies to that part of the business.
Q: The guidance reads: “PYO customers are prohibited from areas of the farm not involved in the PYO farm operation.” Does this mean that PYO customers cannot visit my farm stand after picking?
A: No. The prohibition means customers cannot wander around your farm or visit parts of your farm that are not specifically open to customers. PYO customers may engage in other commercial activities on the property. However, it is important to remember that different guidance applies to different activities. As soon as someone is no longer participating in the PYO operation, different guidance may come into play.
Q: What guidance applies to PYO customers who make their purchases in a farm stand where other food and agriculture products are also regularly sold?
A: If a farm has a farm stand and also sells its PYO crop through the farm stand, then ACCD’s consumer retail guidance for critical retailers applies to the farm stand. If the farm either exclusively or separately sells its PYO crop(s), then the Agency’s PYO Restart Plan guidance applies.
Q: What consumer retail guidance applies to critical retailers, such as farm stands and grocery stores?
A: Critical retail businesses must follow the same health, safety, and training requirements as all other businesses, which are outlined in ACCD’s Work Safe Guidance. Critical retailers, such as farm stands and grocery stores, that continued operations under the Stay Home, Stay Safe order do not need to reduce occupancy to continue operating.
Q: Is this mandatory guidance?
A: Yes, it is the expectation that all VT PYO operations will comply with the Executive Order and follow the PYO Restart Plan guidance issued by AAFM. In some instances, the guidance mandates requirements (usually by using ‘shall,’ ‘must,’ or ‘will’), at other times the guidance indicates best practices and strong preferences (generally by using ‘should’ or ‘preferred’).