"U-Pick" Farmers Get Creative During Pandemic Uncertainty

Traffic backups, long lines and hot days in the field aren’t in store for many Bay Area families during this year’s U-Pick season.

Instead, it’s more of a "we pick for you" operation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jessica Enos owns 5 Star Cherries at 24782 Marsh Creek Rd. in Brentwood with her husband, Larry.

She told KCBS Radio this year, farm owners will likely pick the fruit for you and set up some sort of pickup operation to comply with social distancing guidelines.

"It will still be fresh," Jessica Enos said. "It will probably still be picked within the last 24 to 48 hours, but it’s going to be an order ahead situation."

Most farms are commercial, but also put a few acres aside just for U-Pick season.

"Some of them are 100% U-Pick," Jessica Enos said. "So, obviously those that are 100% U-Pick are probably going to be more creative than those that also have the commercial outlet."

Larry Enos told KCBS Radio social distancing is not a problem at their Brentwood facility.

"What’s nice with the orchards is that we’re 18 feet apart in the rows and 12 feet between trees," Larry Enos said. "There is that separation for the commercial pickers and the U-Pickers."

This year, 5 Star Cherries is planning to have more workers on hand to pick cherries for customers.

"It’s going to be more (of) our customers that are going to feel what the difference is versus the actual farming day-to-day operations," Jessica Enos said. "It’s probably not going to look like you’re going to come and spend two or three hours inside an orchard. That’s probably not what a lot of it’s going to look like."