Photo Credit: Bonnie Kittle
Black Family Wrongly Accused Of Stealing Apples From Massachusetts' Connors Farm
Connors Farm in Danvers, Massachusetts accused a Black family of stealing produce at their agricultural tourist establishment. The local business thought the couple was taking their apples even though the family was on their way to go to the family’s store to buy more products, according to the victim’s online post.
The farm was a place of joy for Manikka Bowman and Jeff Myers, who experienced the traumatic event with their kids.
The family includes an 18-month-old and a 7-year-old, who both had a great time at the Massachusetts farm prior to the altercation with the white owners. The confrontation was bizarre to the Black couple after they spent $100 at the farm for admission and to pick apples for their family to take home as a fun Labor Day activity.
The family was confronted after realizing their kids took 6 additional apples that they didn’t pay for prior to walking out of the farm, and the Connors farm owners made drastic accusations when the family was planning on paying for them.
“As we were leaving the apple orchard area and heading toward the farm store, I assessed our bag to ensure the apples and peaches fit in it. I realized that our little ones, in their apple-picking excitement, had picked up a few more apples than fit in the bag. I assumed we’d have a chance to pay for the extras in our final checkout. With families being primary customers, surely, we couldn’t be the first to have excitedly over-picked by a few apples—six in our case. We planned to purchase our apple cider donuts to finish our trip with this New England tradition.
This is where things took a turn for the worse.
Before we got to the farm store, an unidentified security officer stopped us for having too many apples that were not in the designated apple bag that we had paid for. The bag, which had been placed at the bottom of the stroller, had fallen over, and some of the fruit had fallen out as we were walking to the farm store. Is this what put Connors Farm security on alert? “
The farmer’s on-site security went through the family’s bags to check if there were any more “stolen apples” which led to the police arriving after the accused family denied their claims.
The family is now asking for Connors Farm to get diversity and equity training and to receive a full refund for their experience and those proceeds to go to the Essex County Community Foundation. Neither Bowman nor Myers heard back from the Danvers farm or received a written apology, which they requested for.
The quarrel between the owners and the Black visiting family caused their child to leave in tears, which prompted the parents to create a post advocating for these prejudiced businesses to seek equity work and retelling their story.
Connors Farm posted a public apology on their website shortly after the blog posts were put up by the family. The post was later taken down but stated: “We regret the incident that happened this past weekend,” the statement read. “We have extended our personal apology to the family. We do our best to train our employees to handle all customer issues with courtesy and respect at all times.”