SHELTON — With the Fourth of July now past, the blueberries are ready — and Jones Family Farms has plans in place for socially distant picking during the pandemic.

Learning from protocols put in place during the recent strawberry picking season, farm owner Terry Jones said the farm is again asking those planning to attend to make reservations online. All pickers must wear face masks, and in the fields, people will be assigned every other row with separate field entrances and exits.

“The strawberry season exceeded our expectations,” said Jones. “We were impressed with how our plans worked out, and I think people really appreciated the extra steps we took to ...make them feel comfortable in a safe environment.”

Jones said harvesting blueberries can be a physically demanding activity but tasty rewards are more than worth the effort. The farm’s website even offers pickers recipes for everything blueberry — from jams to relish, pie to blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes.

Jones reminds pickers that when harvesting blueberries, pick a berry that is blue all the way around, since they will not ripen more once they are picked. Using your thumb, simply roll the berry off the stem and into your palm. Minimal handling is best, since handling may destroy the berries’ attractive white surface cover or “bloom” and increase bruising or spoilage.

“This is an opportunity to get out as a family and enjoy an educational agricultural experience right here in Shelton,” said Tom Harbinson, Facilities and Infrastructure Manager at Jones Family Farms. “People are eager for something to do, and thankfully they have found us.”

Weather permitting, picking will be held seven days a week during blueberry season, mostly in the mornings and all day Saturdays.

In order to keep groups small and appropriately spaced out, no more than five people from the same household can take a reservation slot. All patrons will be required to wear masks at all times, including when picking berries.

There are no Berry Ferry rides at this time in the Valley. There will be the popular Berry Ferries at Pumpkinseed Hill, however, because of the terrain.

Jones Family Farms has offered the blueberry crop for more than 40 years. The blueberry season runs from July 4 through the middle of August. Visit the farm’s website for blueberry picking guidelines and to make reservations.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com