Local strawberry grower, Dentz Orchards, adapts to keep everyone safe and healthy

Courtesy photo

IROQUOIS — Dentz Orchards and Berry Farm is now open for strawberry season, but with a few changes due to COVID-19. “We had a steady stream of customers from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 8,” said Cathy Dentz. “We are thankful so many people came out to support our small business on our first day.” 

When customers come into the barn this year, they’ll notice that some things are different. To open safely, the farm will follow guidelines put forth by the Berry Growers of Ontario and endorsed by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

The first thing customers will notice is that the left door of the barn is designated as an entrance. At the door, there is hand sanitizer available. Customers are expected to follow the flow of traffic past the produce cooler to the checkout where there is a plexiglass shield between them and our staff to keep everyone safe. “We have a sign asking customers to keep a two metre distance from the person in front of them when they enter the barn and so far, everyone has been respectful of the new procedure,” notes Cathy. “With the one-way flow of traffic and physical distance, we made it easy for customers to quickly and safely grab a basket of fresh picked strawberries, tap and go for a contactless experience.”

The pick-your-own strawberry field will open later this week and here is where customers will find the biggest changes. “Just like in the grocery stores, we are asking that customers not bring their own containers,” states Cathy. “Normally, we charge by weight, but this year we will charge by volume.” Customers can choose the volume they wish to pick, either a 4, 3 or 2-litre basket and pay using cash or debit. The use of standard containers will reduce lines into the field and during payment. “Although customers can’t bring in their own containers, once they buy a standard basket, they can reuse it provided it is cleaned and disinfected between uses,” Cathy emphasizes.

In the field, the number of customers that can pick at any one time will depend on the number of rows that can be used while maintaining a 2 metre physical distance. The flow of foot-traffic will be one-direction for customers to exit the field. “We want our customers to have a good and safe experience on the farm this summer and we’re going to do what we can to keep everyone healthy,” says Cathy.

Dentz Orchards and Berry Farm is a fruit and vegetable farm located south of Ottawa in the St. Lawrence Valley. Family owned and operated since 1957, we take pride in serving our customers with fresh quality produce that offers exceptional taste and value.

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