With every day passing, it’s starting to feel like sweater weather in Massachusetts! If that isn’t enough to put you in a cozy mood, these top farms on the coast, listed below in no particular order, will definitely have you cheering for the season. After all, tis the season of apples, corn on the cob, pumpkins, gourds, baked pies, cider donuts, and on another note – corn mazes, hay rides and festivals and fairs, campfires and s’mores, and…well…you get the point. Anyway, grab your sweater and head to a local farm or just grab your keys and take a drive. On the North Shore, you are almost bound to bump into something fresh and local.
Located at 45 Fern Ave, Amesbury, MA 10914
Overall, one of the largest, comprised of one hundred and forty-five acres, and most diverse farms on the North Shore, offering, not only, a farm store, but also, pick-your-own produce, cut-your-own flowers, hard cider tastings, hayrides, live music, seasonal events and outdoor games, a food truck, a drink and desert bar, a barnyard, and a bee observatory. Cider Hill was founded by the Cook family and is now run by three generations of Cooks who strive to cultivate, nurture, and grow relationships. Cider Hill is a non-GMO (genetically modified organism) farm that runs off ninety percent self-generated electricity and creates their own power from a eight-hundred and forty panel voltaic solar system. Their goal is to negate their carbon footprint to conserve precious resources, and offer a wide-range of farm activities for the whole family. No wonder they won the number one apple picking spot in the U.S. according to Yelp!
Located at 108 High Street, Newbury, MA 01951 / 93 Main Street, Wenham, MA 01984 / 123 Dover Point Road, Dover, NH 03820
With three locations in Newbury and Wenham, Massachusetts and in Dover, New Hampshire, Tendercrop Farm is open daily for all your fresh produce, meats, and poultry products needs; they also have baked goods, plants and flowers, and prepared foods. Their newest location in Dover, New Hampshire, was previously Tuttle’s Red Barn, which is one of the oldest working farms in America. Their two locations in Massachusetts – Newbury, which is their original farm, and Wenham, which offers a magnificent road-side sunflower field and a greenhouse, are both extremely popular during the summer and fall months. Supporting local farms, such as Tendercrop, reduces the use of fossil fuels, preserves open spaces, protects farmland, and supports the local economy.
Located at 50 Scotland Road, Newbury, MA 01951
Colby Farms is much more than a rustic road-side farm stand. Started in 1960, by the Colby Family and past onto the next generation, the family’s goal is to provide safe local food, while being conscious of the native ecology and environment. They own two hundred acres of fields and harvest roughly twenty acres, which includes their surreal sunflower fields, which are highly sought after and trafficked during the ‘New England Sunflower Experience‘, an annual event. Colby Farms expanded their farm stand in 2012 to offer more produce; they typically harvest from June through October every year, and sell other local suppliers goods in their farm stand, such as Golden Girl Granola, Richardson’s Ice Cream, Centerville Pies, Chococoa Baking Company, and more. Colby Farms may be a small road-side farm stand, but during their peak blooming season, when the sunflowers are tall and bright, it is sure hard to miss!
Located at 77 Dodge Road, Rowley, MA 01969
A farm store, produce stand, lumber, hay, and fertilizer manufacturer, Herrick Farm has decades of agricultural and economic history and experience. Originally, a sawmill in the 1600’s called, Dodge’s Sawmill, surrounded by farm fields hayed with horses. Then, in the 1800s, a farmhouse was erected on the land and lasted until it was burned down and built anew in the 1900s. Thereafter, the Herrick family moved down from New Hampshire after inheriting the farm from Sophie Dodge, the original owner’s grandmother, and henceforth the farm became known as Herrick Farm. Today they milk over one-hundred Holsteins and have a heard of thirty steers for beef, additionally, they raise their own chickens and sell farm fresh eggs. Recently, they began offering a small portion of farm fresh milk to the community, bottled locally, with no hormones or antibiotics. The Herrick family prides themselves on offering products sourced from humane, transparent, and sustainable methods. Herrick Farm is one of the last dairy farms in Essex county.
Located at 259 Linebrook Road, Ipswich, MA 10938
A three-generation family owned farm with a market, greenhouse, corn maze, and Christmas tree lot (all seasonal), the families of Marini Farms have been growing and farming since 1928. With over two hundred acres of farmland, their produce is supplied to local supermarkets and sold at their farm market on site; they also lease local property that enables them to grow over one-hundred acres of sweet corn, a popular crop that sells quickly in their market. Additionally, they have over thirty acres of pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash, also very popular products sold in their market. Little known fact, in 1980 Mario Marini became one of the first farmers in the country to adopt the Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM), which is now used throughout the world. The Marini family continues the traditions and principles of their great grandparents and strives for freshness, quality, and customer satisfaction.
Located at 219 Country Road, Ipswich, MA 01938
Appleton Farms has one of the most unique pastoral landscapes with a rich agricultural history and one of the oldest operating farms in the country, established in 1638, and preserved through nine generations of the Appleton family. The farm is also home to a montage of wildlife, including the largest population of bobolinks and meadowlarks, both a type of songbird. Today, the one-thousand acres of pastures is owned by the Trustees of Reservations and includes miles of wide walking trails open to the public, past grazing pastures, statues and relics, and at the entrance, a farm store, selling fresh produce and a visitor center. The Trustees of Reservations host occasional events on the farm, such as concerts, sketching opportunities, walking plays, and other exclusive opportunities. A true place of wander and wonder, Appleton Farms is a perfect place for a relaxing picnic.
Located at 143 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA 01938
Quaint farm store, bakery, winery, and barnyard with plenty of pick-you-own options on their one-hundred and twenty acre fruit farm, including, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, and apples; Russell Orchards is a great rest stop before visiting Castle Hill on the Crane Estate or Crane Beach (roughly a little over two miles from Russell Orchards) with activities for the whole family. Owned and operated by second-generation farmers, the Russell family, not only, maintains and works along-side key employees which help them with day-to-day operations, but they also live on the farm. Annually and seasonally, they host the popular Apple and Wine Festival, which showcases their award winning wines and hard ciders and features live folk music, hands-on cider pressing, make-your-own apple pie and, if that isn’t enough, their own sample apple tastings (their all scrumptious). On your way out, pick up some of their made from-scratch cider donuts – delicious!
Honorable Mentions –>
Utopia Farms (Manchester-by-the-Sea)
A twelve-acre farm with fresh produce, baked goods and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. They also, seasonally have a pop-up fish market on Thursday afternoons, thanks to Cape Ann Fresh Catch. Utopia Farm is a hidden gem with a great seasonal variety and features so many other local vendors/brands all under one roof – so convenient.
Maple Crest Farm (West Newbury)
One-hundred plus year old, family-owned farm, offering pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins on their thirty-three acres of land. Maple Crest has been in the Elwell family since 1917 and their farmhouse dates back to the early 1700’s. They also have one of the most scenic views, overlooking Indian Hill Reservoir.
Northern Lights Farm Stand (Ipswich)
Across from the Clam Box, a popular fried food counter-serve joint, that is architecturally shaped like a clam box, is the ever-charming Northern Lights farm stand tucked off route 133. Always with a dazzling front display, that changes seasonally, they carry Amish and Mennonite farm products, including their own fresh vegetables and flowers. Out back behind the farm stand is rows of cut-your-own bouquet of flowers. Once an unpaved parking lot, turned into a home for dozens of monarch butterflies, Northern Lights Farm stand has laid down their roots and has every intention to keep growing.
Ingaldsby Farm (Boxford)
A tree farm with plenty of fresh produce, including farm fresh eggs, and bakery items in their roadside marketplace. Additionally, they have some really special pick-your-own produce items, some of which you almost never see, such as, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, peas, beans, rhubarb, and Christmas trees. If that isn’t enough to peak your interest, their animals include, peafowl, pigs, sheep, lambs, goats, chickens, and their resident turkey, named Georgie.
Connors Farm (Danvers)
Known for their seasonal and ever-changing, seven acre corn maze, their haunted happening – Hysteria at Connors Farm, and their seasonal festivals – strawberry and peach festival. They also have opportunities to get your amazing photo(s) featured on their website, as every year they hold a photo contest; the best photo gets one-hundred dollars, the runner up gets fifty dollars, and the third place winner gets four packs of farm tickets. Connors Farm is way more than just a farm stand.
Located at 54 Felton Street, Peabody, MA 01960
A treat for every season, there is always something happening at the historic Brooksby Farm. In the spring, their farm store opens, along with their greenhouse, filled with flowers, hanging plants, and vegetable plants. In the summer, they have pick-your-own fruits alongside their barnyard of farm animals. In the fall, the pumpkin yard opens, plus they have pick-your-own apples with various fall-themes activities. Finally, in the winter, they feature plenty of jellies/jams, pies, wreaths, kissing balls, and boughs in their store with a cut your own Christmas tree lot (and pre-cut trees).
Boston Hill Farm (North Andover)
A twelve generation family owned and operated farm offering pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins. Boston Hill Farm may not look like much from route 114, but their farm stand is quite impressive, stocked with fresh eggs, milk, ice cream, pies, jellies/jams, fresh honey, meats and cheeses, fudge and chocolate, gift baskets, and so many more goodies.
Smolak Farm (North Andover)
A historic farm stand and homestead, with over one-hundred and seven acres, in operation for over thirty five years, a gem of Essex county and an extremely popular destination. Smolak Farm’s hold seasonal festivals (strawberry, peach, and fall festival), plus they host the distinctive Whim Dinner Series, which sells out every year; a pop-up dinner experience held in the summer months, in which guests chefs are invited to create a dinner menu on a ‘whim’ and cook up the fresh produce offered at the farm.
Kimball Farm (Haverhill)
A ninth-generation family farm in business since 1920, with a farm stand offering grass fed beef, natural pork, fresh eggs, various produce, and most recently, maple syrup. They also open their corn maze, giant slide and offer hay rides in the fall months and in the winter, sleigh rides. Don’t forget to check out their barnyard of animals and feed the horses and llamas.
All the farms listed above are just a handful of all the farm markets/stands/fields sprinkled throughout the North Shore. Practically in every town, there is a sign pointing towards a farm market or stand off the beaten path. The best way to find all of them – and plenty more hidden gems – is to just pick an area and take a drive.
I love to blog, because I love writing and exploring, but sometimes it is simply an excuse to get out of the house. In the process of writing this pos, I did actually explore the farms mentioned above and in doing so discovered this amazing area in Newbury surrounded by salt marshes, but that post will be for another time. You never know what you will stumble upon that can spark an idea for another post. Until then, support your local farms and never stop exploring!