COVID-19’s impact on local cidar mills

Keely Messacar and Morgan Skaff '21

Before entering the Blake’s cider mill, everyone is greeted with a sign detailing Covid-19 restrictions. Photo courtesy of Keely Messacar ’21.

Blake’s apple orchard and cider mill, although with some restrictions and regulations changed, is still a welcoming and fun trip to go to with family and friends, according to Tucker Briggs ’22.

Starting in this fall season, Blake’s Orchard has reduced capacity and insurers social distancing on the farm, as well as requiring masks for all visitors and employees.

“Every employee has to wear a mask and we have the big plastic things in front of each register and then we do a mandatory cleaning every hour and a half of all the picnic tables and common areas of where customers may be, along with lots of other protocols,” manager Rachel Raska said.

While the staff is hard at work making sure every surface is clean, customers are still able to enjoy all the activities and food they provide according to Raska.

“Surprisingly I don’t think corona affected it very much except for the fact that there was social distancing when there were lines and when you were with any close proximity inside, you did have to wear a mask, but besides that there weren’t really any hindrances,” Audrey Becker ’21 said.

Capacity is reduced to 50 percent in the new tasting rooms as well as reduced capacity in all enclosed buildings, fun land and events are still running as usual according to Raska.

“There are a few new additions this fall season, like the rock climbing wall in fun land as well as our tasting room, these will not be at full capacity but, still a lot of fun for your next visit,” Raska said.

According to Becker, she feels 100 percent comfortable at the farm because most of it is outside which makes it really nice because she feels more comfortable in the outside air opposed to a closed area.

“I do think that obviously when you’re picking apples, you’re already socially distanced, and you’re just with your family so it doesn’t impact picking apples too bad,” Briggs said.

There is no need to cancel a family trip to Blake’s this year, the orchid is safe and clean, and already very spread out, according to Briggs.

“The tradition of picking apples will continue even though there is corona,” Briggs said.