Frequently Asked Questions

**Due to COVID-19, all of the answers to the FAQ below are subject to change. Please call ahead.**
Groups/Event Planning
PYO Handicap Accessibility
Nut Allergies
Birthday Parties
PYO Policies
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.  Dogs aren't allowed for myriad reasons, including food safety regulations, the safety of our barnyard animals as well as our customers, and general liability. In support of persons with disabilities and in compliance with MA State and Federal ADA requirements, legitimate service dogs functioning in trained aid to our disabled guests are certainly welcome. However, as also prescribed under MA State law, we reserve the right to refuse emotional support dogs, or other pets that cause a disturbance, or whose actions, however benign, obviously reveal them not to be trained service dogs. Please plan accordingly, and be aware that our customers are easily distressed at the sight of pets left in parked cars for any length of time, even with the windows cracked. As regards our own farm dogs who occaionally appear near the store or in the orchard, these dogs have an important role as protectors of the barnyard, farm and orchard where they herd livestock and 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 ( 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 photo or video shoot, or film on-site?

For family portraits, engagement or graduation photos, and similar 'personal use' only:
Please email seeking permission and include all of the following:
1. Description of purpose (eg: Engagement Photos)
2. Crew and equipment neecessary
3. Date/time/specific locations desired
4. Provide a phone number at which you may be reached
Depending on the season, time, and locale-desired, availability may be limited, or impossible (weekend shoots are gently discouraged, and Fall weekends are problematic due to crowds).
Length of shoot: 1st hour is free; $75 fee to be paid if shoot spills into 2nd hour. Two hour maximum time limit, commencing after check-in with management at Barn Store upon arrival. Plan carefully for available light and visitors/workers present. Under no circumstance may a photo shoot continue on the property after business hours.
Personnel and equipment: 10 people maximum, including photo subjects and camera personnel; no drones allowed under any circumstances; minimal-to-no lighting and limited equipment is appreciated. Russell Orchards is not responsible for personal injury or damage to equipment, clothing, or personal belongings.
Entry into Orchard during various fruit seasons for photography is still at standard Pick-Your-Own (PYO) entry rates, whether picking fruit or not. Please come prepared to pay and follow all the same rules and restrictions as outlined at the entrance to the PYO areas.
We greatly appreciate your courteous consideration for our regular Orchard-visiting guests, even if they may come into your frame of view, as they are our first obligation and primary purpose.
No access to farm equipment, props, animals, or supplies is offered; no access to off-limits areas is granted.
No special services, nor places in which to dress or change are available.
Please do not cite Russell Orchards as your locale in-print without express consent from ownership. Thank you!

For professional photography such as fashion shoots or commercially oriented re-use:
Please follow ALL of the requests made above.
Fee rates differ, however: $150/hour with minimum of 3-hour pre-payment; 4-hour maximum time limit.
12 people maximum are allowed, including photo subjects, hair, make-up, and camera personnel.
No access to off-limits areas unless explicitly arranged with owners. This includes prohibiting the use of drones or other aerial photography.
Electricity can be provided (one standard outlet) in certain locales.
Proof of insurance must be provided one week in advance.
No special services, nor places in which to dress or change are available.
Please do not cite Russell Orchards as your locale in-print without express consent from ownership. Thank you!

For non-commercially-purposed TV, film, or video (such as student film):
Please follow ALL of the requests made at the top of this FAQ.
Fee rates differ, however: $150/hour with minimum of 3-hour pre-payment; 4-hour maximum time limit.
12 people maximum are allowed, including photo subjects, hair, make-up, and camera personnel.
Proposed purpose, plot, and content must be approved by owners (a script may be requested); a walk-through for locations must be conducted with, and approved by ownership no later than 2 weeks prior to filming.
No access to off-limits areas unless explicitly arranged with owners. This includes prohibiting the use of drones or other aerial photography.
Electricity can be provided (one standard outlet) in certain locales.
No special services, nor places in which to dress or change are available.
Please do not cite Russell Orchards as your locale in-print without express consent from ownership. Thank you!

For all other commercial film, TV or video, (such as broadcast TV, feature film, music video, etc):
To be arranged and contractually agreed-to on an individual basis in direct consultation with ownership.

Can my group come, or can we hold our corporate event on-site?

Arrangements can frequently be made to host groups of about 20-50 people for non-sales-oriented semi-private corporate or social events, within standard M-F non-holiday afternoon business hours. We regret not being able to make special accommodations for businesses or groups of any sort on weekends or holidays beyond existing standard entry and options available to all members of the visiting general public. Please plan accordingly for arriving with larger numbers of visitors during Pick-Your-Own season, especially for weekend apple picking.

Special group or corporate M-F afternoon events are typically built around a Pick-Your-Own visit, on foot or with an arranged haywagon ride, and can be expanded to include wine tasting, an optional artisanal cheese and fruit platter, cups of ice cream, and/or a donut and cider reception. Please initiate any inquiries by emailing with a brief description of your group, preferred date/time details, and a phone number where you may be reached. Thank you!

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; 8-7 Mid-June through 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 only 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 birthday party at the farm?

Regretfully we do not host or accommodate birthday parties on-site. For insurance-related reasons, as well as to comply with our policy of No Outside Food and Beverage, we ask that you please respect this decision and have the birthday celebration at another location. Come for the fun of birthday-timed visit, but please leave the cake and presents, balloons, and party favors at home. Thank you!

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 $4 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 $4, 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 $4). 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 four 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 located just outside 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 or rehearsal dinners?

We are flattered and honored by the frequent inquiries about hosting weddings and rehearsal dinners 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 or rehearsal dinner 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 is open to the public to see up close all the different varieties of fruits we grow on the farm. It's a mini orchard full of actual fruiting trees, bushes, and plants. The store is full of great gifts, artisanal provisions, and handy gadgets; your visit may even coincide with watching the donuts being made! We offer benches to sit at for enjoying the scrumptious baked goods and tasty 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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