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Pick-your-own apple season returns at Eckert's this weekend

The farms have a reservation-only system in place and time slots must be purchased in advance online

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Eckert’s announced plans for the start of pick-your-own apple season, scheduled to begin this weekend.

The first opportunity to pick apples will be on Aug. 22 at the Belleville and Grafton farms, with social distancing guidelines in place. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the farms have a reservation-only system in place.

Time slots must be purchased in advance online for the Belleville, Grafton and Millstadt farms. Reservations are currently open through the end of October, according to a press release.

The cost varies by location but children under 2 years old are always free. Prices are subject to change as additional social distancing practices may be required, Eckert’s said in the release.

The Belleville and Grafton farms will open on Saturday with Gala apples and the Millstadt farm will open on Sept. 2 with Jonathan apples.

“Although the pick-your-own experience looks different this year, we’ve been able to safely and successfully host families at the farm all summer for blackberry and peach picking,” said Angie Eckert, vice president of retail operations. “Apple season has been an important part of our farm for more than 100 years now so we’re grateful to be able to welcome guests back to the farm to create new fall memories.”

Eckert’s has several safety precautions in place for the safety and well-being of guests and staff. When guests arrive, they will be required to check-in before entering the fields. The number of guests will be limited during each time slot and guests will be required to wear masks.

Picked apples are priced by the pound and the prices vary depending on the variety, according to the release. Eckert’s Country Store will also have apple-inspired products including pies, ciders, jams and other bakery items.