Folks heading out to Potter Road Raspberry Farm in Traverse City this weekend will be in for an unpleasant surprise. The farm is closed all weekend long, and after they reopen on Monday, July 18, u-pick will no longer be available. The change is due to an unpleasant situation that happened on Thursday, July 14, when people arrived not to pick berries, but to play Pokemon Go, the new game that encourages people to get out of the house to find characters. Game players were not using the best judgment while out playing the game, and became a nightmare for owners Brenda and Mike Mahn.
The game was released only a week ago, but already there are stories all over the country about criminal activity and people getting hurt because they were too engrossed in the game to pay attention to their surroundings. A girl in Pennsylvania stepped into traffic while playing the game and was hit by a car. A man in New York hit a tree playing Pokemon Go while driving. There was the man who was stabbed in California, the girls in San Diego who found a dead body, and two grown men went over a bluff and had to be rescued because playing the game was more important than watching where they were going. In Quebec, Canada, two police officers were injured in their vehicle when a person playing Pokemon Go while driving crashed into them. There are reports of people being robbed while playing too.
And now, vandalism forced a raspberry farm to close to the public during the raspberry picking season.
Brenda Mahn, the owner of the Potter Road Raspberry Farm, told Up North Progressive on Friday that she had to close her farm after the damage done by the game players on Thursday. “They ran all over, throwing handfuls of berries at each other. They went through my zucchini patch and threw zucchini at each other. They threw the pails at each other and broke them. In twenty four years, I have never seen anything like this. They had their phones out and said they were playing a game.” Mahn had never heard of the game before, “I’m don’t use the computer, I don’t watch TV. I spend my days outside working.”
And adding insult to injury, people tried to drive away with the berries they picked without paying for them.
Potter Road Raspberry Farm is more than just a local u-pick berry patch. This is a major raspberry grower in the Traverse City area supplying local wineries and Cherry Capital Foods with fruit.
On Monday, when Potter Road Raspberries reopens, picked berries will be available and people can place orders. U-pick however is finished for the season. Brenda said after what happened on July 14, she can’t have more people coming to her farm to destroy property and produce just to play a game. Pokemon Go is becoming the definition of, “this is why we can’t have nice things.”