Country Blossom Farm of Alexandria was recently featured in the national publication, Farmhouse Style Magazine.
Co-owner Tracy Heald said they’ve received more feedback on social media since the article was published, and people have reached out to ask when they can visit and if they could ship products to Country Blossom Farm.
“I think many people dream of starting their own business, and farming is always on top of the list but to make it happen is definitely overwhelming,” Heald said. “So for others to see it’s possible with a lot of hard work, hopefully we have inspired others to take the leap.”
Local resident Bill Blanchard took notice of the magazine feature piece. He was first introduced to orchards and local farms after he finished college and said he’s appreciated the Healds’ farm since it opened in 2009.
“It’s a labor of love that deserves some recognition,” Blanchard said. “It’s a great addition to the community.”
Navigating new guidelines
When Country Blossom Farm opened their strawberry patch to the public June 19, the state hadn’t released guidelines for pick-your-own farms. Instead, the Healds participated in webinars hosted by southern states and communicated with other farms in Minnesota to discern new protocols for their business.
Heald said they’ve always advised visitors to wash their hands before picking, so their hand washing station was in place. They added custom signage to direct guests to wash their hands, pick up their own box and maintain social distancing.
They are following the 25 percent occupancy guideline for indoor spaces, and implementing additional sanitizing measures for surfaces and restrooms. Employees weren’t required to wear masks outside but were instructed to wash their hands frequently.
“It did not really look different,” Heald said. “I think by the time the patch opened, people were trained to follow instructions, and it went very smoothly.”
Once the strawberry picking season ended July 4, Country Blossom Farm started working on their plan for the fall. The gift shop will be open and outdoor activities will continue, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, they won’t be offering all of the typical activities.
“The plan for this fall is not a small undertaking, and we want our guests to feel safe, along with our staff,” Heald said.
The farm will be following indoor and outdoor occupancy guidelines and is in the process of drafting an 18-page response plan including new employee training, hand washing, disinfecting and sanitizing procedures to keep both staff members and visitors safe.
If you go
Country Blossom Farm, 1951 Englund Rd SW Alexandria, will be open for the fall season Aug. 15 through Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. After Sept. 9, outside activity hours will change.
The gift shop is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the off season.
For activities, the jumping pillow, bouncy animals, tire mountain, swings and slides, corn maze and pick-your-own produce will all be available to visitors. Bazooka ball, corn pit, woodland walk, kids’ farmers market, pedal cart track and wagon rides will not be offered this year due to the difficulty of sanitizing and maintaining social distancing.
Pick-your-own includes apples, raspberries, aronia and pumpkins. Bakery items and the take-n-bake freezers will be stocked, but they aren’t allowing guests to eat in the building.
Season passes will not be sold, and there will be no tours or group events on the property. Event weekends such as Fall-a-Palooza, Apple Pie Days, Pumpkin Mania and MEA Fun Days are cancelled.
Activities wristbands will be $7 per person over 3 years old. The flashlight corn mazes will also be $7 per person.