Frequently Asked Questions

Artists
Dogs
Donations
Commercial Film/Photography
Group Tours
PYO Handicap Accessibility
Season
Nuts
Parking
Parties
Pesticides
PYO Policies
Restrooms
Weddings
What is there to do?

 

I am an artist - can I paint or take photos in the orchard?

There are times of year when access to the orchard is not permissible due to necessary orchard maintenance. For this reason, artists must call ahead to arrange special permission to enter the orchard and even then be prepared for a last minute change of plans. There are several beautiful areas on the property that are open to the public and do not require advance permission.

Are dogs allowed?

Regretfully we cannot allow customers to bring their dogs to the farm.  Health and safety regulations do not permit dogs in the store or in the picking areas. Properly identified service dogs are always welcome. Occasionally the farm dogs appear near the store or in the orchard. These dogs are our pets who have an important role as protectors of the barnyard and the orchard where they patrol for coyotes, deer, and vermin.

How can I get a donation for my cause?

If you are seeking a donation for your charitable event, please send a letter or email to: Outreach Coordinator (outreach@russellorchards.com) with the following details at least 2 weeks in advance of the event:
1. Date of need
2. Type of donation sought
3. Name of charitable event or group and brief description
4. Why a donation from Russell Orchards will be helpful to this cause
While your request may be extremely valid and poignant, please understand that not all requests for donations can be granted. Preference is given to Ipswich and the surrounding towns, as well as to groups or charities that demonstrate a genuine connection to our business (ie: contact person has been to the farm and knows what we are about). Letters of solicitation may not be answered if the donation request cannot be granted.

Can I hold a commercial photo or video shoot?

Photography/Film/TV
For non-commercial use photos such as family portraits, engagement photos etc:
Must call to arrange day/date and time.
Allowed from 9 AM-4 PM weekdays and 9 AM to 12 PM weekends and holidays during our normal open season.
1st hour is free; $75/hour after that.
10 people maximum including photo subjects and camera person.
No access to farm equipment, props, animals, or supplies; no access to off-limits areas.
No special services.

For professional photography such as fashion or commercial use:
Must call to request day/date and time.
Allowed from 9 AM-4 PM weekdays and 9 AM to 12 PM weekends and holidays during our normal open season.
$100/hour with minimum of three hour pre-payment.
12 people maximum (total).
No access to farm equipment, props, animals, or supplies; no access to off-limits areas unless explicitly arranged with owners.
Electricity can be provided (one standard outlet).
Proof of insurance must be provided one week in advance.

Film/TV/Video
Non-commercial film/TV/video (eg: student film):
Subject to fee of $100/hour with minimum of three hour pre-payment.
Allowed from 9 AM-4 PM weekdays
Must have approval and walk-through for locations
No access to farm equipment, props, animals, or supplies; no access to off-limits areas.
No special services.

Commercial film/TV/Video (such as broadcast TV, feature film, etc)
To be arranged on an individual basis.

Do you offer group tours or corporate events?

We can accommodate groups of about 20-50 people for corporate events. An event is tailor made for your specific needs and budget. Wine tastings, goody-bags, fruit picking, and hayrides can all be part of the package. Please call to discuss the options with our event staff.

Is there handicap access for the pick-your-own?

Yes. Please have your handicap decal displayed in your vehicle and either call ahead or send someone inside the store for instructions.

When are you open for the season?

Our regular store season begins on or around May 1st every year. We are open every day from May through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Daily hours are 9-6 in May; 7-7 June-August; 9-6 September-October; 9-5 in November. We close at 11:45 on Thanksgiving Day. Our last day of the season is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Are the donuts peanut-free?

Yes. There are no peanut products in the donuts. The frying oil used for the donuts is a mixture of vegetable oils typically used in fryer machines.  The allergens associated with the donuts are: wheat, eggs, and soy. See our allergens page for a full list of allergens.

Is parking available?

We have a ample parking available for our customers during regular store hours. The only time parking gets tight is during one of the busy fall weekends, but even then we have a team of parking attendants to help you find a space. We do not allow beach parking for reasons of liability. Please do not leave your car in the parking area if you leave the farm property.

Can I have my child's birthday party at the farm?

At this point we regretfully do not host or accommodate birthday parties. Due to insurance reasons, we ask that you please respect this decision and have the birthday celebration at another location.

Do you use pesticides?

Yes, in certain cases a pesticide is necessary to protect the crop from irreparable harm.  Pests can be rampant in our region and can take the form of fungi, weeds, or insects. We only apply chemicals with extreme caution and only in circumstances which are crucial to the health of the fruit. Our method of protecting our crops is called IPM, which stands for Integrated Pest Management. "IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks." (National IPM Network). Here in New England, our climate is very welcoming to pests, whereas in some of the major apple growing regions of the world (like New Zealand) they have great success using organic methods. If we were to use only USDA Organic sprays we would be spraying huge doses of sulfur and other  USDA Organic approved chemicals every few days for the entire growing season. For us, the most vulnerable time for the fruit is before or during its blossom stage and several applications of protection must be sprayed on the blossoms and the trees to ensure that the fruit will set. Sometimes this spray is simply an oil with an addition of nutrients or other naturally occurring substance such as copper. Any spray we apply to our crops is applied by a licensed pesticide operator and is meticulously monitored for proper dosage.  There is a strict formula for how much time must pass before the workers or the public can have access to those areas.  In most cases, the actual harvest is months away. The EPA can visit at any time and sample the fruit for pesticide residue and check the records to make sure everything is as it should be. Our own personal distaste for chemicals is stronger than the average person, so we never “go overboard” or look the other way when the health and safety of our family and our customers is at stake. See our Growing Practices page for more information.

Pick Your Own Policies

We love being able to open our fields to the public for their enjoyment but we've learned over the years that it comes with a price. We ask for a $3 fee per person to go into the fields because we are trying to encourage people to actually pick fruit and return with it to pay, as opposed to going out into the fields, wandering around eating for a few hours, and returning empty handed. We try to price the fruit so that a container comes out to roughly about $3, in which case you have already paid and don't owe anything more. If you pick more, you pay the balance due (you've already paid $3). If you pick less, you do not get a refund, but you have just spent your money to visit a beautiful pristine place that otherwise would be off limits. We ask that you pay for your children ages two and above because we are familiar with children and fruit! Bringing children into the picking area is a beautiful experience for parents and families and we wholeheartedly welcome them. However, little feet and hands can take their toll, especially on fragile fruit plantings. Teaching children the value of food, respecting nature and other people's property is a priceless lesson that can certainly be taught at the farm.

Do you have restrooms?

We offer several “Green Certified” porta-johns at the store and in the pick-your-own areas. These units are well-maintained, frequently cleaned, and hand sanitizer is always available. Due to our close proximity to the marsh and surrounding protected wetland, installing the number of permanent toilets necessary to accommodate our large crowds is not feasible at this time.

Do you do weddings?

We are flattered and honored by the frequent inquiries about hosting weddings at the orchard. We have made the decision to keep our focus on farming, and not to get involved in the very special and important details surrounding a couple's big day. Regretfully we cannot host your wedding at the orchard. There are several area farms that are completely outfitted to hold your wedding.

What is there for my family to do?

On a typical day, your family may enjoy visiting the animals, strolling by the pond, or simply sitting on a bench and eating an ice cream. Our Interactive Fruit Garden in open to the public to see up close all of the different varieties of fruits that we grow on the farm. It's a mini orchard full of actual fruiting trees, bushes, and plants. The store is full of cool items and sometimes you can watch the donuts as they are made. We offer picnic tables to sit at and enjoy the scrumptious baked goods and deli items we have for sale. Check the pick-your-own page for a listing of fruits in season to pick. The calendar page will tell you when we have special events such as festivals, hayrides, and live music. Wine tastings are inexpensive and fun - check out the winery page for more info.


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