Wait one apple-picking minute, we’ve got some apple-picking prejudice to report.
Rev. Manikka Bowman, her husband, Jeff Myers planned a nice family trip to Connors Farm in Danvers, MA 20 minutes outside of Boston. The couple thought their two young children, an 18-month old infant, and a 7-year-old, would enjoy apple picking for Labor Day Weekend. News One reports that the family outing took a nasty, hostile turn into what Bowman and Myers describe as a “traumatic experience” in a blog post.
We spent more than $100 on all-day admission, fruit picking as well as food and drinks. We also donated to the James and Robert Connors Scholarship Foundation that was marketed at the property. Throughout the day, the staff was gracious and helpful. But that dramatically changed as we were approaching the end of our day.
The family had such a great time, the children accidentally picked too many apples to fit in the designated bag, which spilled over in the bottom of their stroller as they walked back to the farm store. The couple even discussed using the farm as a venue for their oldest daughter’s next birthday party. Before they even reached the farm store to pay for the extra apples and apple cider donuts, however, they were confronted by security.
The security guard accused them of stealing the extra apples and escorted them to the store, where they searched Bowman’s purse for more “concealed” fruit.
“As it became apparent that the security guards, along with a third employee who was located in the farm building, were accusing our family of stealing, our outrage at the false accusation and the embarrassment and confusion it was causing us grew stronger,” Bowman and Myers wrote in the post.
Bowman told NBC10 Boston, the manager didn’t even acknowledge that they were paying customers who simply needed to pay extra for the additional 6 apples. They repeatedly explained that they were on the way to make more purchases, including the apples, but the manager only responded, “It’s my job to prevent stealing.” When they asked for the manager for his and the owner’s contact information, they called the police instead. After years of protests about overzealous and racist police confronting Black people with brutal and deadly violence, the manager knew he was putting their lives in danger 6 apples!
The Danvers boy in blue who arrived couldn’t wait to take the stolen apple story and run with it. He ate up every word of the manager’s accusation even though it didn’t make sense after the family invested so much time and money at the farm. Instead, he accused them of “playing the race card” and intimidated the couple into ultimately overpaying for the fruit.
The harassment, hostility, and racial profiling from Connors Farm and the officer made Bowman and Myers’ 7-year-old daughter burst into tears. According to the blog post, that anguish lasted into the night. The couple went on to demand an apology, refunding their money in the form of a donation to Essex County Community Foundation “with the specific purpose of supporting their racial equity work,” and a commitment from Connors Farm and Danvers PD to give their staff diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
Both the Town of Danvers and Robert Connors, owner of the farm, issued a public apology. Even the Connor Farm now-deleted apology posted to their Facebook page was shady. A follow-up comment from their company page doubled down on the incompetent staff and racial profiling.
“Just a friendly reminder that we reserve the right to inspect all backpacks, bags and strollers that exit our orchard.”
Connors Farm ignored the other two demands to donate the family’s money and commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion training. If that follow-up comment from someone at the farm is any indication, addressing racism in their ranks isn’t a priority.