Notes for August 2017: Blueberries and peaches are
going still in northern and cooler areas, but are mostly finished in the Deep
South. Blackberries, figs, and raspberries are in season now. Tomatoes are
going strong, although the crop is way diminished in rainy areas like the
southeast. Strawberries are finished, except in the far north, and if the
farm planted Day Neutral varieties. Early apples, like Gala, are about to start!
Children's Consignment Sales
occur in both the Spring and Fall
See our companion website to find a local
community or church kid's consignment sale!
Next year, don't miss an Easter Egg Hunt for your children:
See our companion website to find a local Easter Egg hunt!
We also have
home canning, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access
recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search.
If you have any questions or suggestions,
feel free to write me! It is easy to
make your own ice cream,
even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note,
there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all
copied their information form here and usually do not ever update. Since
2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see
anything wrong, please
Reviews about Charlton Orchards in Massachusetts
Charlton Orchards - Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries,
peaches, apples, pears and raspberries.
44 Old Worcester Road, Box
339, Charlton, MA.
Does anyone have experience; positive or negative about this farm?
- A visitor writes on June 23, 2016: (negative)
"My experience ended at the website. Their pick your own strawberries
are 3.50 a pound with a $3.00 per person charge as a minimum non
refundable, so if you go with two kids or three kids, pay $9-$12 dollars
and pick only two pounds, they are mighty expensive berries. Since the
pick your own experience is unpredictable with children, this is
ridiculous. We chose instead a more local farm in West Brookfield who
charges a flat $4.00 a quart and had pleasant friendly people running
the place. We bought some extra stuff in the stand and I ended up
spending $23 dollars, not a huge amount but enough for a first visit.
That's $23 dollars and future business Charlton won't get by trying to
ensure minimum sales. Ridiculous business practice. "
- A visitor writes on October 07, 2014:
(negative) "I live in
Connecticut and this farm is in Mass. Its about 15 minutes from my home.
I went to this farm on Sunday, October 5th, 2014. I went with my Husband
and 2.5 year old son. I have been to other Orchards that are
family/child friendly and where there are fun things to do in addition
to picking apples but this one is very close to where we live so I
thought I'd give it a try. Activities: Nothing. You drive in, walk in to
the little store (I guess that's something, right?) to pay for your bag
and then walk to the orchard. It looks like there once was a play area
for kids (I'll cover that in 'appearance'), and there is a winery (not
kid friendly). Appearance: I suppose it is functional, but it does not
look overly inviting. The little store is decent. There are a few
animals as you drive up but you need to look for them in order to know
they are there. Once you find them you may not want to approach their
pens, as they are dirty, overgrown and dilapidated looking. (I even read
a review afterward that stated that the fences were unmarked and
electric, resulting in a trip to the ER.) There looks like there was
once a play yard for children but it has been forgotten for years. The
fence is falling in and there are so many overgrown weeds as tall and
the play equipment that you couldn't walk in to the area. As you walk to
the actual orchard there are piles of scrap and debris on either side.
Once you get to the trees it is fine as apple trees go. Attitude: Nobody
was very friendly when we got there. They weren't rude, they just
weren't cheerful. They didn't say hello when we walked in. They only
responded to questions. Now once we got the apples home events started
that will make me never even think about going back and I will tell
everyone I know not to even bother. The apples were brown once I cut in
to them. They had holes going through some of them. I called and the
woman (owner) got very defensive saying that there weren't bugs, that
they had a calcium deficiency but I could bring them back and she'd make
it right. I went in the next day and introduced myself as the person who
had called the day before. Without a single word she walked up to me and
flipped open a knife (very close to me) and started cutting open apples.
She held one up and asked if this was the 'brown' I was talking about.
She told me with a nasty attitude that her trees had a calcium
deficiency and that it was upsetting that I would imply that her apples
had bugs. I explained that whatever the reason for the coloring, it
isn't appetizing to bite in to a brown apple. I also offered her
pictures on my phone of the tunnels I had seen, which she was not
interested in looking at. At this point who I assume to be her husband
had joined us. I asked if she thought it might be a good idea to tell
customers that her trees had a problem and the apples would be brown.
She started yelling 'How the 'H' am I supposed to know what trees you
pick the apples off of?'. The husband said 'What the 'H' do you want
lady? We're giving you your 'GD' money back!' She and her husband
continued to reprimand me and swear at me until I asked for my money and
started to leave. I then told her that she should try to be more polite
to her paying customers and reminded her that there were several
negative reviews on-line, some specifically about her attitude. She
informed me that she didn't care about those reviews because they are
only sites who wanted money out of her to hide the negative reviews and
if she didn't pay they would showcase them. I said that while I didn't
know if that was true, I was a live paying person that was right there
giving her negative feedback because I was very dis-satisfied with the
product and the way I was being treated and that I wouldn't be back
again. They started yelling at me again to get out and as I walked to my
car the man followed me outside yelling that I ought to grow my own 'GD'
orchard if I didn't like theirs and see how my 'GD' apples turn out. I
will never go back there as long as I live. "
from Blake: I have never been
in contact with Charlton Orchards, and certainly never asked for any
money from them. There are few, if any, farms in America about which I
receive so many negative comments.
Comments from a visitor on September 04, 2012:
(negative) "This farm is
not particularly well run and has a number of safety hazards if you are
bringing children. The biggest safety hazard is their UN-LABELLED (i.e. NO
signs anywhere) electric fence that resulted in a trip to the emergency
room. The cows were the big draw that brought us to the farm, the unmarked
electric fence will stop us from ever returning."
Comments from a visitor on August 08, 2012: (positive)
"Had a great time. They just need to be a little clearer on how much each of
their blueberry buckets weigh. Somehow there was a miscommunication. We thought
1 1/2 buckets was equal to 2 lbs., when they were weighed, we had 7.25 lbs! Not
that I minded, just means a couple extra pies to hand out :) Also, the woman who
tallies up your produce was a bit impatient with children in the store. Not that
I blame her. When you have 4 little sets of hands rummaging through your
baskets, fruit bruises easily. We plan on going back to Charlton Orchards for
apples, raspberries and pears. They have a great place and great prices!"
Comments from a visitor on July 11, 2012: (positive)
"I go to this farm every year blueberries and have always been very
satisfied. The berries are always large and plentiful and in excellent
condition. I buy 12 quarts at a time and go home and freeze them for the
winter. Yes, the staff are no nonsense people, but they are farming people
and expect customers to follow their rules, for safety and to protect their
property. I am sure they have had too many people come to their farm and
cause lots of damage because their children are bored with picking after 10
minutes. I have seen these poor children running through the bushes/trees,
playing hide and seek, anything to amuse themselves all because their
parents thought it would be"fun" to go pick fruit. This is not a place for
young children or children who are not mature enough to pick berries/fruit
for extended periods of time. If you want to amuse your children, go to one
of the farms that are more like amusement parks. If you want to show your
children what a REAL farm is like, go to Charlton Orchards and keep your
children under control. Yes, I am from an extended line of farmers!"
- Comments from a visitor on September 19, 2011:
(negative) "We drove 100
miles last Friday, 9/16/2011 based on information listed at Charlton Farm
website for PYO peaches [website says they were currently PYO peaches, so
did voice message when telephoned]. When we finally got there, we found a
dump of a place. Run-down buildings, [PICK YOUR OWN PEACH SEASON WAS OVER]
but displayed in boxes at farmstand were rotting under-sized peaches at
exhorbitant prices and a horrible road to even get to the place. The website
is a FRAUD! Everyone should know this......do not go there....you will be
EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED!! Carol "
- Comments from a visitor on September 04, 2011:
(negative) "I looked up the
orchards and was excited to try it. Thankfully I called to confirm what was
available for picking today and was told everyone was welcome to pick apples
but only adults were allowed in the blackberry and rasberry fields. Since we
as a family wanted to get berries, we're going to Harvard to another
orchard. I did comment on that not being a family friendly policy and was
told quite snippily that they *are* family friendly but its quite an
expensive crop and children aren't respectful so therefore can't pick. They
can unload their expensive crop elsewhere as far as I am concerned!"
- Comments from a visitor on July 07, 2011:
(negative) "I live in Charlton.
Two of my three children worked at this farm as young teens. The woman who
owns and operates this farm is anything but pleasant. She provides a place
for these tweens to find summer employment, yet expects them to have the
work ethic of a thirty year old with a mortgage and a family. While I agree
with the argument that kids today don't understand a hard days work earns a
days pay - this woman is just out of control. Has been for years. The farm
is not cared for at all, and the farm stand and winery are dirty. Fruit
flies everywhere, etc. And her yelling at her help and her customers. The
sad part is, there are so many people today trying to support the family
owned business. Charlton Orchard is in a great location, and apparently does
an Ok business, even with all the bad public relations. Imagine how well
they could do!! Imagine how many people with the right demeanor and work
ethic would give anything for the opportunity to have this piece of property
and this farm. Shame on her."
- Comments from a visitor on June 19, 2011: (positive)
"Just got back from picking at Charlton Orchards with my wife and 4 year old
daughter. We had a great time good strawberries and the people there were
friendly to all of us. This is a working family farm, and not one of the
u-pick entertainment desinations we've been to closer to Boston. (I
personally don't like the idea of paying 5$ to step on the property, and
then for what you pick on top of that.) That expection of an entertainment
destination vs. a u-pick farm seems to be at the core of most of the
negative reviews. We had a great time and I expect we will be back many
- Comments from a visitor on September 27, 2010:
(negative) "I felt vindicated
and validated reading all the negative reviews of this orchard because I
have avoided going there for the past 5 years, ever since my 3 y/o was
treated VERY BADLY by an older lady there who owns the orchard. He had
picked-up a small, half-rotten apple off the ground and turned to give it to
a goat (there were no signs posted not to feed the animals!), when she came
up and started screaming at him, "Give that to me! Who the hell do you think
you are!?" She then began ranting about "Damn people think they can do
whatever they want..." I interrupted her to say excuse me, if there was a
rule about not feeding the animals we're sorry but you don't need to speak
to my toddler like that. She then started berating me and I have to say, at
the time, I was going through chemo and visibly ill! She was heartless and
rude and nasty. I would NEVER return to this orchard. There may be older
folks who don't like having kids around (nice review about the snot-covered
apples that lady posted. Wow.) but these business thrive on families'
business. This place could care less if you spend your money there."
Comments from a visitor on September 04, 2010:
(negative) "Proud father of 2
boys, 5 and 3. Living in Sturbrige I pass this orchard often. For some
reason we usually end up stopping there and I never have a good experience.
The counter help always make you feel like you are bothering them. We went
looking to fill in about an hour of our day. We walked around and did not
bother to play on the 1980's plastic toys, and then decided to go buy an
apple or two. Well of course we "had" to buy a bag of apples. Why can't we
buy 2? Save your time and look at other farms. "
Comments from a visitor on August 25, 2010: (positive)
"I find it unbelievable how many negative comments this poor farm has!! I
have been coming to this farm for years(with my kids!) and we have never had
a bad experience. I'll admit, I have seen the owner upset at families, yet
it is always because the group clearly cannot follow directions! The only
rules on this farm are that you watch where you step in there fields, keep
an eye on your kids, and pick in designated areas only. That doesn't sound
so hard to me, but the amount of people who can screw that up is surprising.
In regards to the woman who commented on the raspberries..get over it! I
grow some bushes in my backyard and you'd be surprised how much money it
costs to tend to them and how gentle you have to be around the bushes.
Perhaps your kids are well behaved, but would you take the financial risk of
allowing immature children to rip up fragile plants? No. Charlton Orchards
is 100% child friendly and the only people who have something bad to say
clearly cant follow instructions! If you want to go to a farm that allows
you to roam freely, don't come here! This is a genuin working farm with
tractors that run out in some parts of the orchard. The staff asks you to
pick in certain areas for your safety. Don't count this farm out..it is
beautiful and a great experience awaits you. "
Comments from a visitor on
August 22, 2010:
(negative) "I have to comment
on the emails and reviews. Its funny but I happened to be in the shop at the
moment this poor woman came in with her infant and toddler. I was also
shocked they didn't offer to call it a wash. She had what amounted to a
handful of berries and crying babies. The girl at the counter wasn't rude
but she should certainly have gotten someone over her to help her. She was a
young girl and following the picking rules. That said, CUSTOMER SERVICE is
not within this farms abilities. The patch itself was in horrible
conditions, the orchard run down. The girl in the mini store was not well
trained. (I'd say she was polite but not knowledgeable. IF a farm wants to
make a profit in this day and age EDUCATE Your Staff you need the community
to want to come to you first.) I also thought at that time, why would a mom
of an infant and a very small toddler think this was going to be a good
idea? I'm a very experienced mom and to be fair, it wasn't a great choice
and you most likely learned a Mom lesson. Hot days and infants aren't good
for picking any fruits alone. Going alone without a spouse or friend might
have been a second thought. I really felt for the mom and staff but had this
been my employee I would have been sadden to know she didn't try to solve
this issue by going to her supervisor. Point for customer here."
Comments from a visitor on June 24, 2010:
(negative) "I had a really
negative pick-your-own experience at Charlton Orchards this morning. I
arrived alone with my 2 kids, age 1.5 and 3 months. I told the clerk we
wanted to pick our own strawberries, she gave us a box, and we went to town.
As you can imagine, picking fruit off the ground with a 3 month old baby
strapped to your chest is somewhat challenging. My 1.5 year old was too
young to help, and just toddled around saying Sabees! Sabees! But she was
having a good time, which was really the whole point. After about 30 minutes
or so my daughter was hot and cranky, so we gave up and went back to pay for
our admittedly meager harvest. When we got back to the store, the clerk told
us we hadn't picked the minimum amount, and she would have to charge us $5
for our three handfuls of fruit. I was completely taken aback, as she made
no mention of a minimum required purchase when we first spoke with her,
despite the fact that I mentioned to her that we probably weren't going to
be able to pick all that much but we wanted to go out and try. There was a
sign out in front of the store stating there was a minimum $5 purchase for
groups of 4 adults, but I was one adult with two babies, one of which was
strapped to me. I asked her if she could give me a break and she said no,
"those are the rules and I don't make the rules." If I were alone I probably
would have left emptyhanded, but since my toddler was so excited about her
"Sabees" I ended up paying $5 for a pitifully small amount of fruit. I'm all
for supporting local independent business and everything, but seriously, it
was such a truly crappy customer service experience that I doubt I will ever
go back. It truly is a shame because as a family we go out of our way to
spend money at local businesses and eat as much local produce as possible.
Oh well. We'll still be doing that, just not at Charlton Orchards. "
Comments from a visitor on June 14, 2010: (negative)
"I would like to comment to the fellow who thought that the gentleman at
Charlton Orchard's was so rude. I have found this also to be my experience
there. Also, they were very unwilling to support the local high school in a
fundraising project. And so, even though I am a resident of Charlton and
would like to support local business, I choose to go elsewhere for pick your
own and to buy produce. And, by the way, I found a business in Sturbridge
that was willing to help with the fundraiser. Shame on Charlton Orchards for
not supporting your local kids. So why should I support you? Enough said."
Comments from a visitor on July 06, 2009: (negative)
"the non gentleman that answered the telephone was soooo rude. i decided
immediately to NEVER go this farm no matter how bad I want strawberries.
Also stated $2.75 lb!!!! What!!!! incredibly expensive!!!!"
Comments from a visitor on July 04, 2009:
"I've been going to Charlton Orchards for the past 10 years or so for
blueberry and strawberry picking. I *like* that they are limiting on the
children and rowdy school agers in the patches. The one thing I hate about
some of the other farms, are all the toddlers and young children romping
around, crushing berries, getting snot and spit covered hands on the
berries, while the mothers (usually) are chatting with the other playgroup
moms and not being right there with their kids. In general, Charlton
Orchards doesn't have an issue with kids if there is 1 adult per child
accompanying, and that the whole family (as a unit) looks and is acting
responsible. Charlton is not a "playground farm" for sure -- lots of
grown-up/older folk picking, and you can just enjoy the peace of the farm,
and not have to listen to rowdy kids or crying cranky babies. That's
honestly, quite nice and very welcome."
Comments from a visitor on
July 01, 2009: (negative)
"Hello, I definately agree with the other writers that this is NOT a child
friendly orchard. The staff are borderline rude and obviously not very fond
of children. We would not recommend this orchard, and we certainly would
NEVER go there again. I have been to many other local orchards where the
staff is warm and inviting, and talk kindly to our little ones."
Comments from a visitor on May 30, 2009:
"My sons and I went blueberry picking last year
at this farm and it was a pleasant experience. When we were leaving i
commented on when raspberry picking would be coming. The woman at the farm
had said soon. So, i turned to my boys that were 9 and 8 yrs old and said,
"oh good we'll have to come back at that time to go raspberry picking". The
woman immmediately said "Oh no we dont allow children in the raspberry area
to pick". So i asked why and she said that the bushes are very delicate and
in the past children have crushed the bushes and stuff. It's not like my
boys were babies - they are old enough to know the difference of what to do
and not. But one family basically ruined it for the rest of us. since we
have so many farms in our area..it wasnt a concern."
Comments from a visitor on October 12, 2008:
(positive) "I visit Charlton
Orchards often, and find it a pleasant, old-fashioned family-run place.
Indeed it is not the playground/amusement type of farm... it's real a
working farm and as such does not deserve a warning on your site."
Comments from a visitor on September 10, 2008: (negative)
"This is in response to the request for information about Charlton Orchards
not being child friendly. I have taken my three year old daughter to
Charlton Orchards several times and she has loved it. They have a few farm
animals that are interesting to her. There is a small play area that is not
well maintained (it is filled with the small plastic play-sets meant for
children under 6 some of which are falling apart), but it is not dangerous.
The staff are not as friendly as the ones at other orchards, such as Honey
Pot Hill, but they were not mean to my daughter."
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