SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA)- Farmers in Sarasota County are feeling the ripple effects of the novel coronavirus.
At Albritton Fruit Farms off State Road 72, there are thousands and thousands of pounds of blueberries in a 25-acre field ready to be picked.
These berries are the ones you would typically find at a grocery store or in a meal at a restaurant, but farmer Sarah Albritton tells 8 On Your Side orders have hit a frightening low due to low-cost international imports as well as coronavirus.
Albritton says the market for blueberries is virtually nonexistent with shuttered restaurants and limits in grocery stores.
“If potentially things keep going the way that they are, it could be absolutely a disaster for us,” said Albritton. “Hopefully things can start to go on the up and up because small farms like me, they won’t make it if it doesn’t,” she continued.
The local farm is counting on the community and its “U-Pick” to help break even during this pandemic. On select days from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., customers can come out to the farm and pick their own berries at a discounted rate of five dollars per pound.
Albritton understands there are health and safety concerns relating to COVID-19.
The farm has set up cones six feet apart to ensure the check-out line maintains a safe social distance. There are also portable sanitizing stations that each person has to use before entering the field.
Albritton Fruit Farms is also asking for families to stay in their own row; there are several hundred to choose from.
“There’s enough space where everyone can socially distance, be in their own rows and come out and get some fresh air,” said Albritton.
The “U-Pick” will run Saturday, April 10 and April 17-19 from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. You can find more information here.
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