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Wilson’s Orchard and Farm opens farm market, bakery, cidery and strawberry patches for U-pick and pre-picked fruit sales

IOWA CITY– Wilson’s Orchard and Farm opened for its first-ever summer season on Saturday, June 20. Despite a late frost in May, the strawberry plants flourished. This year, Wilson’s will harvest its first crop of strawberries.
The addition of strawberries to the farm is part of an effort to further diversify the crops and products, allowing the business to extend the season to six months, from June through December. It also means providing a wider variety of locally grown produce to our community.
“We are leaning more and more towards diversity when it comes to which crops we will offer,” said Paul Rasch, owner of Wilson’s Orchard and Farm. “From an economic standpoint, you can really lose your shirt if you put everything into one basket- Apples, pumpkins, corn, beef, whatever- and the weather doesn’t treat you right.”
Starting June 20, Wilson’s Orchard and Farm opens Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant at Rapid Creek Cidery reopened for dine-in and patio service on the same day.
Strawberries at Wilson’s Orchard are available to pick for yourself, or pre-picked by the quart or flat. The bakery offers a variety of strawberry treats, as well as freshly baked cherry turnovers. Take-and-bake pies, frozen tart cherries and blueberries will also be available in the newly renovated farm market.
The safety, health and well-being of team members and guests are the highest priority for the orchard. Wilson’s promises to do everything to ensure the orchard and market experience is both safe and enjoyable.
“This pandemic has had an impact on agricultural businesses, for sure,” said Rasch “But well before we heard of coronaviruses, agriculture was in a bad way. Now, more than ever, farms that are spending the extra time, effort and capital to make our food system more secure and sustainable need your support.”
Some of the steps Wilson’s Orchard and Rapid Creek Cidery have taken include:
• Wilson’s Farm Market has been redesigned to control guest flow and facilitate social distancing.
• We have invested in a new ventilation and climate control system to improve air flow.
• Strawberry pickers will be assigned rows to help with social distancing. We strongly encourage you to pick with their eyes first, and hands second. And, we kindly discourage pickers from eating while in the field.
• Rapid Creek Cidery has created Good to Go for online ordering and Wilson’s has partnered with Iowa Delivery for local delivery of popular Farm Market products. Ecommerce is contactless, facilitates social distancing, and offers safe and convenient access for those who are more vulnerable.
• We added more points of sale to decrease congestion and will add an outdoor point of sale in the next month.
• All staff is required to wear face masks, and we encourage our guests to do the same. Free disposable masks will be provided to farm market guests.
• Hand sanitizer is available at all entrances and exits, tasting stations, and points of sale.
• Surface-sanitation occurs hourly, and even more frequently for high traffic areas and during peak hours.
• Increased frequency of handwashing for all staff.
• All to-go utensils are sealed and single use.
• Staff interacting with food will wear gloves.
• Staff will be asked to stay home if feeling unwell, and we ask that guests do the same.
• Staff training and education of sanitation guidelines has been increased.
Wilson’s is excited to welcome patrons back to Wilson’s Orchard, the Farm Market and Rapid Creek Cidery and appreciates the support and welcomes any questions, concerns or suggestions customers may have.