The strawberries are ripe and business is booming at Barbee Farms.
It was the second week of strawberry sales at the Farm Stand at Barbee Farms in Concord this past Wednesday afternoon, and due to changes that were prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the farm has been seeing more business than usual for this time of year.
Dana Barbee said that when the farm was faced with social-distancing rules for produce sales, the owners decided to offer pre-ordering, with curbside service and contact-free service to accommodate those in high-risk groups while serving as many customers as possible.
This is the first year the farm has offered these services, and it has increased their business.
Barbee says she feels “greatly blessed, but a bit overwhelmed,” explaining that they usually don’t see this much business until July, when all the other crops come in.
Her husband, Brent Barbee, said that during the pandemic they really want to stress pre-ordering for quick pickup to limit the exposure of his customers and workers to each other. He cautions that even though the farm will still allow people to select their own items, customers will have to “practice patience as well as social distancing” as the stand can only have six customers inside at any given time.
To pre-order, visit the Barbee Farms website at https://www.barbeefarms.net/. If you scroll down the page, you will find a listing of what produce is currently available and instructions on how to place an email order. They request two to three hours minimum to fill an order, but many customers order the night before pickup.
The Farm Stand hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and closed on Sunday.
If you want contact-free shopping, include that information in your pre-order email, and the farm will instruct you on payment options. Once you arrive with payment in your trunk, you can open your trunk, an employee will load your order, take your payment from the trunk and send you on your way with no face-to-face contact.
Dana said that if a customer has pre-ordered, he or she can just pull up next to the front door, “yell, ‘I have a pre-order,’ and someone will come out to take care of you,” she said.
A few moments later, a customer who did not want to go into the stand walked up, held out some cash and loudly asked for someone to bring him some strawberries “outside of the building.”
Kiala Dyer took his money and then put a half-gallon basket of fresh strawberries into the customer’s gloved hands.
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