Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Enjoying the Middle of Nowhere at Brookfield Orchards

Article and Photo by Eric H.
Brookfield Orchards in Brookfield, MA, might sound like a place just to pick apples, but actually offers that proverbial "everything but the kitchen sink."

Located in the middle of nowhere in central Massachusetts, the isolated but scenic Brookfield Orchards appears to be, from the outside, a farm stand with perhaps a garage or an apple producing operation attached. Once inside, however, this mammoth network of retail rooms seems bigger than tiny North Brookfield itself.

Upon entering, there's a snack bar with the most delicious homemade apple dumplings. Add some ice cream and you're in snack heaven. The snack bar also serves apple pies, apple cakes, chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, and in September and October, hot dogs, hamburgers, chili and macaroni and cheese. September and October, are, of course, the time to pick apples on its 80 landmark apple orchard acres. During apple season (beginning around Labor Day Weekend), the views from the hilly terrain are priceless and fun abounds with wagon rides, crafters, and entertainment.

As they say on those television informercials, "But wait, that's not all!" Brookfield Orchards also features a country store with jams, jellies, maple products, Vermont cheddar cheese, candy, books, maps, crafts, antiques and collectibles. It's a charming scene with displays of old tools, spinning wheels, cider presses, a waterfall and a large assortment of memorabilia.

Brookfield Orchards takes us back to the day when a snack bar was a snack bar, a country store was a country store and an apple orchard was an apple orchard, meaning that there's no pretense, or over commercialism. The help is nice and graciously advanced in age, the layout is plain but offering plentiful merchandise and the apple dumplings the best snack food on the planet. It's always so pleasant coming to Brookfield Orchards at any time of the year.

Brookfield Orchards, 12 Lincoln Rd., North Brookfield MA 01535. Tel. 508-867-6858, 877-622-7555

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