- Connors Farm employees accused Manikka Bowman and Jeff Myers, a Black couple, of stealing apples.
- They called the police over the incident, and an officer said they were “playing the race card.”
- Connors Farm reportedly apologized to the couple after they made a blog post about the incident.
A Massachusetts farm reportedly apologized to a couple that said it racially profiled them over Labor Day weekend.
Manikka Bowman and Jeff Myers went to Connors Farm in Danvers, Massachusetts, with their two children, aged 18 months and 7-years-old, on Monday, as they shared in a blog post. The farm features fall-themed activities, like corn mazes and apple picking.
In the blog post, Bowman and Myers, who are both Black, wrote that they paid “more than $100 on all-day admission,” bought food and beverages, and donated to a scholarship fund the farm advertised throughout the day.
The family also picked apples during their visit.
When Bowman looked into her family’s apple bag, she realized her daughters had picked six extra apples than they had been allotted “in their apple-picking excitement,” as she wrote in her post.
“I assumed we’d have a chance to pay for the extras in our final checkout,” Bowman said in the post. “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.”
But as they were heading to the farm store, the family was stopped by a security guard, they wrote in the post. He and another security guard took the family to the farm store, where a third employee joined them, and reportedly searched Bowman’s bag for “concealed” fruit.
Bowman and Myers asked to speak to a manager, who the third employee identified himself as. They then asked the manager for the owner’s contact information, according to their blog post. The self-identified manager called the police after they pushed for the information.
The couple said the police officer who arrived did not listen to them, instead of taking the manager’s word. He eventually accused Bowman and Myers of “playing the race card,” as they wrote in the blog post.
“By jumping straight to an assumption of theft, Connors Farm created a scene, harassing us and causing our 7-year-old to burst into tears, the anguish that lasted well into the evening,” they wrote.
During the incident, the couple’s bag, which they paid for, was not filled back to capacity, meaning Connors Farm actually overcharged Bowman and Myers for their apples after all the back-and-forth.
In the same blog post, the couple requested a written apology from Connors Farm, a refund in a donation to the Essex County Community Foundation for their racial equity work, and additional diversity and inclusion training for Farm employees.
The company issued a public apology for the incident on its website.
“We regret the incident that happened this past weekend,” the statement read. “We have extended our personal apology to the family. In addition, we do our best to train our employees to handle all customer issues with courtesy and respect at all times.”
“We are taking further steps to ensure that staff will undergo diversity, equity, and inclusion training,” the statement went on to say. “Please know that everybody is welcome on our farm.”
According to The Independent, the apology was shared on the Connors Farm Facebook page, but the company’s social media pages appear to have been deactivated at the time of writing.