Chesapeake strawberry farm gets creative as coronavirus threatens picking season

Posted at 6:28 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 06:43:10-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - With businesses taking a huge hit from coronavirus, a family-owned strawberry farm is getting creative ahead of an uncertain picking season.

This week Hickory Ridge Farm on Battlefield Boulevard started offering grab bags of fresh produce to vehicles that pull in.

Owner John and Robin Pierce or one of their three sons will fill the bag and walk it right up to customers so they don't even have to get out of the car.

The bags, which include a variety of different fruits and vegetables, cost $24.60. The first group of bags put out on Wednesday sold out quickly.

Good news for a farm that relies on school field trips for a lot of business. If schools remain closed, Robin Pierce says it could really impact the upcoming u-pick strawberry season.

"I don't know. We rely on the Lord so I'm not going to be fearful. I'm going to rely on His good grace and the good people of the community who support us and come out and care about what happens to us," said Pierce.

But being a farm during this time has its advantages.

Pierce is taking to social media to advertise Hickory Ridge Farm as a good place for "social distancing," the practice of staying at least six feet away from other people to avoid spreading COVID-19.

That could change if the pandemic worsens and government restrictions tighten.

Pierce says, if that happens, she and her family will pick the strawberries themselves and, like the grab bags, bring them directly to customers in their cars.