Spotlight: Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch

3 min read
in Blog, Community, Projects, Web Development
screenshot of Curtis Orchard's new website

It’s opening day at Curtis Orchard, and they have a shiny new website to match!

Just about everyone in our community knows about Curtis Orchard. Their family-owned farm is the quintessential destination every fall, for apple picking, pony rides and games for the kids, and some of the best-tasting cider and donuts around. Jason and I have taken our boys there many, many times over the years, so when they called us about a website redesign, we jumped at the chance.

For a business like theirs, the pitch is about more than just the products. It’s about the experience–spending time with family, making memories, starting (or continuing) traditions, and so on. Their website needed to strike a balance between friendly and professional. It needs to accomplish certain tasks, but without getting too pushy. It needs to feel a bit like your grandma inviting you over to her house, but it’s not actually her house and you know you need to actually *buy* that slice of pie (which is fair, because it’s REALLY good!).
old website for Curtis Orchard

The original website for Curtis Orchard was colorful, but didn’t lead visitors to important spots as well as it could have.

What’s New

Along with the basics that their old website had, the Curtis family wanted to try something new: a tool they call Apple Alerts. They told us that they make and field lots of calls from customers wanting to know when their favorites of 30 varieties (30!) were available. These calls happen throughout the season, as different varieties mature at different times.

To help streamline this ongoing process, we built a custom contact form for them. It connects dynamically to a series of mailing lists. Each apple variety gets its own list, and the office staff can contact everyone on the list with a single email, rather than fielding dozens of phone calls. It’s also great for suggestive selling, as they don’t rely on the customers to reach out first; they can contact their customers as soon as the products they want are ready.

You’ll also notice that a more neutral design palette lays a clean and modern foundation for the new site. Brightly-colored action items like social media buttons and booking calendars stand out more, and photographs from the orchard have more breathing room so that visitors notice and appreciate them more.

Curtis Orchard Apple Alerts page

Curtis Orchard’s new Apple Alerts feature improves communication with customers and helps encourage more sales.

Improving the Experience

From a design perspective, we wanted to bring more of the visual beauty of the orchard to the website. Since this is every bit an entertainment experience as well as an orchard and bakery, we wanted that experience to begin right on the front page. Beautiful full-width photographs take site visitors on a bit of a virtual tour right at the start, with an informal “road map” of sorts that highlights all the things to see and do. Visitors have multiple paths to important pages, and they can easily find the most necessary information, like how to find them and when they’re open. That new Apple Alerts feature we mentioned? It’s in the navigation menu, highlighted in the sidebar on internal pages, and cross-linked on relevant pages like the Apple Varieties page. This is an instance where well-placed redundancy is a good thing, and a little goes a long way.

Going Further

Along with a beautiful desktop experience, we gave Curtis Orchard’s new website improved styling for mobile devices of various sizes. We also launched the site on a secure server, which complements their business practices as they do accept some personal details from customers who place bakery orders (which we didn’t even know they did!). And we’ve added the ability to create time-sensitive announcement boxes for things like inclement weather and changes in their entertainment schedule. The finished website helps the orchard staff stay both organized and connected, while providing a more inviting presence on the web.

From one family-owned business to another, we wish our friends at Curtis Orchard all the best for a great season. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go order some donuts.

Cerezo family at Curtis Orchard

Meet the Author

Lisa is one of the co-founders of ThirdSide. She is also a published author with a passion for the written word. Telling other people’s stories well is her main goal.

Her idea of relaxing is trying to make sense out of the mysteries of The X Files and LOST. Maybe someday.

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