6 Boston-Area Orchards and Farms Worth Visiting

One of the joys of summer is picking plump blueberries, sneaking berries as you go; or strolling between rows of branches heavy with peaches, fragrance filling the air, plucking ripe fruit from the trees. A trip to an orchard or farm just outside of Boston is a fun way for families, couples, or groups to spend a summer day in the sunshine. In addition to the pick-your-own adventure, some of these nearby places host activities like children’s entertainment, petting zoos, hayrides, apple cider doughnuts or ice cream, and farm stores.

Keep in mind before you go that crop yields at farms and orchards depend on Mother Nature, so hours and availability can vary. Always call ahead, or run the risk that the crop you expect to pick won’t be quite ripe yet, or that it’s been overpicked.

So, where can I pick my own?

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

Pick-your-own strawberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, Asian pears, and pumpkins.

A hard cider taproom is open Friday through Sunday, serving the farm’s own hard ciders as well as charcuterie, flatbreads, and other snacks. The farm’s $9 admission fee (children under 2 are free) includes train rides around the farm, children’s entertainment like music and magic shows, face painting, farm animals, and more. The farm also hosts evening events like live music and paint nights.

Dowse Orchards

Pick-your-own apples, apples, and more varieties of apples like Gravenstein, Macoun, and Spartan.

The Dowse farm stand has sold fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers since 1919. Although winter is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind right now, farm visitors will be able to choose and cut their own Christmas trees in December, then drink hot mulled cider around a campfire. Several different apple varieties are mashed into the Dowse Orchards cider to give it its distinctive taste.

Boston Hill Farm

Pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy hayrides around the farm, or feeding friendly sheep, goats, chickens, or rabbits a cup of animal food from the farm stand. Find all kinds of the farm’s own vegetables at the farm stand, as well as honey from their onsite hives, cheeses, cage-free eggs, baked goods, and many more edible treasures.

Shelburne Farm

Pick-your-own apples, peaches, Asian pears, and pumpkins.

Is there anything better than a warm, freshly-made cider donut? Enjoy them here as well as caramel apples, ice cream, and for lunch, grill items like hamburgers and sausages. When Shelburne Farm opens for the season in August, enjoy hayrides, farm animals, and on weekends, live music, pony rides, and a moon bounce.

Brooksby Farm

Pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and apples.

A well-stocked farm store with an abundance of fresh produce and flowers, as well as other finds like pickles, jams, and jellies. Visitors can enjoy a picnic area and look in on barnyard animals. The nearby Peabody Historical Society’s Woodland Gardens, maintained in gorgeous fashion by the society, are worth a visit.

Carver Hill Orchard

Pick-your-own peaches, apples, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, corn, peppers, squash, and pumpkins.

Carver Hill is one of the few sites close to Boston where visitors can pick abundant varieties of vegetables in addition to fruits. For a break from your picking, bring your own spread to the picnic area, or grab the farm’s hotdogs, ice cream, apple crisp, and fresh cider donuts. The farm store sells cheese, cider, and local hormone-free meat and eggs.

Photo credit: Rory