As recently as six weeks ago, the Liepold family of the well-known Liepold Farms in Boring was worried about the future of the business. Since 1952, the family has carried on the tradition of growing, harvesting and selling berries in Boring. Now they even partner with restaurants like Burgerville to provide the berries for the chain's popular seasonal shakes and lemonades.
"We didn't know what would happen," said Michelle Liepold Krummenacker. Her parents, Rod and Marcia Liepold, delayed their retirement, which they planned to start this year, leaving the business to Michelle and her brother, Jeff, because of the COVID-19 crisis.
"There were so many things that happened in six weeks," Liepold Krummenacker said.
On June 2, the Liepolds cautiously opened their berry stand on the corner of Kelso Road and Richey Road in Boring.
To ensure safety, the family has installed plexiglass shields and implemented measures to make sure people stay distanced and have minimal contact with berries they aren't purchasing and the staff running the booth. They even wheel the berries out to your car, leaving the cart so you can retrieve the berries, then take it back to maintain social distancing.
On the farm, the family implemented a mobile handwashing station, and workers wear masks and gloves while planting and tending the crops.
To the Liepolds' pleasant surprise, they've sold out early most days they've been open.
"It's really hard to expect demand," Liepold Krummenacker said. "We thought berries would be seen as a luxury, but people have been really supportive. It's all part of the Oregon experience. We genuinely thought this might be it. Every person has been super buying. Some guy told me: 'It is stimulus money. If I'm going to stimulate something, it might as well be farms like this.'"
In deciding how to safely open to the public, Liepold Krummenacker said they had a lot of different rules to consider — Good Agricultural Practice rules, farmers market rules, the state's rules — which all differed slightly.
"We took the most austere measures possible," she said. "I enforce everything for everyone. I want the community safe, my farm safe and the workers safe."
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