Sunday, July 12, 2009

Berries in the Basket at Ward's Berry Farm, Sharon

As the sun finally appeared, the FoodieMommy family was able to do what we love-go to farms, pick fruits and vegetables, see animals, take walks and, of course, eat ice cream.

Our first stop was one of those places that made me wonder why I don't hear about it more often: Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon. At over 150 acres, they have fruits and vegetables to buy at their market or to pick. Right now, for example, you could get radishes, beets, rhubarb, peas, beans and many kinds of berries all grown at the farm. Inside the store they had a range of homemade baked goods (including vegan chocolate muffins), prepared soups, a huge range of sandwiches, and ice cream.

However, we were there to pick our own. Unfortunately, we arrived with few strawberries and peas still on the plants.But lucky for us, it was the last day that we could head into the fields without paying $2.00/person to pick. (Note, though, that paying the picking price comes out in the wash, as you then pay less for each quart/pint of berries.) It was the start of the raspberry and black raspberry season. We will have to return for those as we found a total of 5 (!) that were ripe! However, we had so much fun picking blueberries. My 16 month old, unable to tell unripe from ripe berries was more than content to play in the toy truck filled sandbox and to visit the 4H animals (goats, sheep, chickens-though he referred to them all as, "Quack-Quacks.") My 3 year old, hands stained purple from berries and filled with dirt from trying to dislodge fresh carrots, loved jumping on the huge tires and swinging with his dad.
It was a great way to spend a morning-inexpensive, outdoors and fun. If you can't get there, you can also purchase their produce at the Harvard Square Farmer's Market. Finally, call ahead before you go to check what you can pick, as it depends on the weather.

Ward's Berry Farm 614 South Main Street Sharon, MA (781) 784-3600


  1. What happened to Ward Berry Farm? My husband took my two year old this weekend to see the farm animals. Apparently, they started charging to get in as of July 2009. Anyone over 3 years old has to pay $2? Ok, there is a sandbox, some swings, a few stationary bouncy horses for the small children and a donated slide (by Sharon Heights Elementary) There is a small petting Zoo run by FH. It is non profit and we pay $1 for a small bag of pellets to feed the animals if we want. My husband saw a large family arrive and as they were entering a teenager was chasing after them asking "Do you need to pay for bracelets?" The family looked very confused. I know the economy is bad, but what the heck is Wards doing? They put a big moon bounce near the swings, so now people have to pay? Pay to use a playground, see some farm animals and jump in an unnecessary moonbounce? First of all, a moon bounce is an eyesore, unsanitary and causes injuries. So Wards is trying to make this place into an amusement park or a play place? Sure, pay for the tractor ride,corn maze or to pick your own fruit, not to use the swings! Whatever, we won't be going back, and neither should you, on principal. Go to WWI Memorial Park in N Attleboro. It has a wonderful little zoo with farm animals, two great playgrounds, a giant tunnel slide, flower garden, a coin fountain and it's free! There are many other local farms to go to without paying an entrance fee. The Big Apple in Wrentham, Jane and Pauls farm in Norfolk, etc….

  2. Wow. That is so disappointing! My understanding was that they would be charging $2.00/person to go into the farm part (not the park part) but it would be deducted from the price of a basket for berries. I can definitely see how it might not feel worth it if you don't pick. Thanks for the other great suggestions! We will need to check them out.

  3. I actually disagree with you. I don't mind paying the $2 per kid. When we were there they had the moon walk set up and my kids used it for over an hour. Plus we were planning on picking so the bracelot cost goes right towards the basket. Where else can you get several hours of entertainment plus fresh berries for only $6? I actually like having the staff nearby in case you need them. From talking with management (because I too complained at first), the problem was that people were coming from all over, hanging out all day, leaving their own garbage from their own picnic lunches and never spending a dime. They pointed out to me all the Dunkin Donut cups in their garbage. Plus people were driving their cars all over the fields and stealing what ever they wanted. I feel the bracelot system makes it safer for everybody.

  4. I'm a great fun of Wards. And I support their new system. That'll keep all the unthinkable clouds out. They got to do what they got to do to keep the farm running.

  5. the farm is non profit its ownd by the 4 h the grain bags are $1 when at other farms you pay five. also they have a great camp that my kids went to this summer. it is a once in a life time chance. they can go in with the animals and harvest crops

  6. I am quite disappointed that Wards feels the need to charge admission fees for your kids to play in the playground. There are other ways to prevent people from "driving their cars all over the fields and stealing whatever they wanted" It's called rope. You can also put up cheap fencing, stakes in the ground. The farm is definitely for-profit, while the animal barn run by 4H is non-profit and needs people to come by and see the animals so people can donate. They offer small feed bags so you can feed the animals for $1. I have never seen any other farms/zoos sell small feed bags for $5, you only pay 50 cents for a handful of feed out of a gumball type machine. Even though the 4H is "free" and there is a sign that says so, many people will be discouraged because their small children simply cry that they want to go on the slide and swings. So then, you have to pay another $6 if it's just you and your two kids, but have no intention on picking berries? Come ON. Yes there are mooches wherever you go, but whenever I am at Wards, moms with their "Dunkin Donuts" cups who come with bag lunches to use the playground and picnic tables with their kids usually buy a few things in the grocery store or get their kids an icecream or slush. Wards is trying to stay in business by selling alot of food you can get at any supermarket at a huge markup. There are some fancy prepackaged meals and nuts/dried berries/candy in fancy plastic packaging, but it's no different than the prepackaged meals at Whole Foods and bulk food you can find at your local supermarket. One plus: They sell Iggy's bread, which is yummy and hard to find except at Whole Foods or north of Sharon. Note: Their smoothies are actually made with soft serve icecream and not yogurt! So don't expect a low-fat treat. Additionally, Wards sells Non-Organic produce from as far away as California and Florida, not so good for the Carbon Footprint. Let's face it, Wards found a great way to make a profit during the summer months. If you want to avoid entrance fees: Jane and Pauls Farm in Norfolk is a quaint little place that has wonderful local produce and blueberry/strawberry picking a short walk from where you park your car, they also have a small petting zoo. There is also The Big Apple in Wrentham with an icecream shoppe and they have blueberry/rasberry picking as well as a great sawdust mountain for the kids to play on.