Ontarians love their asparagus and Barrie Hill Farms is following every health and safety precaution to make sure the product makes it to your dinner table.
Asparagus season kicked off Friday amid the COVID-19 health crisis and Barrie Hill Farms owner Morris Gervais is excited to make some history in his little corner of Springwater.
“It's the world's first asparagus drive-thru and people are going to love it as an option,” said Gervais. “We’ve got signs posted on where to pull up and once you do, we have social distancing employees who are protected while taking your order.”
There is also a curbside option, where people can head to the website to place an order from limited produce, which will be available the same day.
Gervais said that many are already enjoying the online and drive-thru options, and noted the market is also open for those who want to walk through and select their own.
“We have changed the way people shop in the market, making it safer for everyone,” said Gervais. “There is only one way to walk and we have markers down to ensure proper spacing.”
Employees are wearing visors and advising people on the rules of going through the market once they get to the entrance. Carts are wiped down after use and there is hand sanitizer at both the entrance and exit.
Gervais credits the second-latest asparagus season in the farm’s history with being prepared. The two-week delay allowed Gervais and his staff to make adjustments where needed and update their website for the curbside option.
“I think everyone was worried about how the virus would affect the agriculture business, but so far we’re doing fine,” said Gervais. “I think people are actually shopping more at local farms to help with environmental impact and local economy.”
Gervais also believes because of COVID-19, families are doing what they used to when he was younger.
“People are home: parents and kids. They’re making home-cooked meals more, spending time at the kitchen table together,” said Gervais. “It could be an ever-lasting effect of the virus.”
With the popular strawberry season coming in late June, Gervais knows he and his staff will be ready, however it looks.
“I don’t know about wagon rides yet, that will be decided as we get close to the date, but pick-your-own may be something we can do,” said Gervais. “The province has said it is going to be available, so if we can keep social distancing in the rows, we’ll look at it.”
Head to the Barrie Hill Farms website for further information.