U-pick to thru-pick: How one Central Florida farm transformed their harvest into a pandemic-friendly operation
David and Lisa Hill began Southern Hill Farms by planting landscaping trees but quickly expanded their operation by growing blueberries, peaches, sunflowers, zinnias, strawberries and sweet corn. The pair realized their operation far surpassed just the produce they grew, recognizing that visitors loved the experience of just being on the farm itself. When the coronavirus pandemic made its way to Florida, first being detected in the state March 1, the Hills were about a week away from opening their u-pick season. So in an effort to keep their family and visitors safe, the Hills forfeited their traditional u-pick season. Transform their farm into a drive-thru operation where customers could order their produce online and pick it up at the farm without leaving their cars.