So the big news, as you may have guessed already from the subject line of this email…we’re opening up to the public again! Tuesday morning we will be resuming (somewhat) more normal service by inviting customers back into our market again. There will be a lot of changes, so please continue reading if you’re planning on shopping/picking with us in the near future. I know this isn’t going to be a very exciting email, but it’s important stuff that will have you prepared for your visit to our farm.
Masks – As I mentioned in a previous post/newsletter, we are going to be requiring masks for entry to our store. This is being done as a safety measure for all of our guests, as well as ourselves. I was able to purchase a small quantity of masks, which we will have for sale for $1 if someone doesn’t have one. The only exceptions will be for customers with medical issues that make them unable to wear masks. However, if you are one of those people, I urge you to take advantage of our curbside service or local delivery (more on those below) rather than come into our store.
Hours – We are expanding our hours a little. We will now be open 9am-5pm Tues – Sat and 11am-5pm Sundays. Please note that these are not as long as our summer hours have been in the past.
Capacity – As a result of the social distancing order, the capacity of our store is very low (only 17 people), so we are going to have to limit entry to one person per group. Please try to plan your visit accordingly. We are going to be flexible for certain situations (small children, caregivers, etc), but we are going to have to really monitor how many customers are in our store.
Curbside Service and Local Delivery – We are continuing curbside service and local delivery at this point. If you are able to, please order online (https://rittmanorchards.com/shop) rather than calling us. As we get busy going into strawberry season, our phone will continue to get busier and busier. Also, local deliveries are changing to twice a week instead of every day. We will be delivering to the following zip codes on Tuesdays and Fridays from now on: 44230, 44270, 44281, 44645, 44203, 44319, 44216. The deadline to order is the night before the delivery. If you get refrigerated items and think you might not be home, please leave out a cooler for us to put your refrigerated items into. I’m still thinking about adding some additional delivery areas, I’m really just not sure what we can handle right now.
U-PICK BERRIES – Yes, we will have u-pick berries this year, but no, I don’t have a date or prices yet. It’s maybe a couple of weeks still until strawberries start, but that’s a total guess right now. Just like everything these days, u-pick will have significant changes as well. We will be staffing the u-pick up at the field at all times that we are allowing picking this year. As of right now, those hours will be the same as our business hours (no 8am entry this year).
Masks will be required to check in or out for picking (same rules apply as above for visiting the store), but we will not require masks while you are actually within the berry patch, picking your berries.
We talked and talked amongst ourselves about taking reservations for picking times, but the bottom line was that we just couldn’t figure out how to make it work logistically. So there will not be picking appointments. If we get REALLY busy, some people may just have to wait to enter the field.
Also, we will no longer be allowing people to bring their own containers to pick berries into. We will have the same buckets we’ve used for years available for purchase to pick into. If you have buckets you got from us in a previous year, you can definitely bring those, but we won’t be allowing any other containers brought from home. This is to minimize contact as well as to speed the line up.
I think I’ve hit most of the highlights. Basically, we’re going to do the best we can to open back up as safely as possible. Trying to figure all of this stuff out in a way that we can make work for us is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. I understand that these rules are annoying and can be seen as customer unfriendly, and I sincerely apologize. The bottom line is that I’m at least partially responsible for the safety of a ton of people who live at, work at and visit our business. If doing any of these things makes our farm even a little safer, then I’ll consider it worth it.
As always, thanks for your interest and support. I’ll talk to you again soon.