The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 14, 2002


Living in Carlisle Strawberries are a June treat

June is strawberry month in Massachusetts. Whether you grow your own, pick your own, or purchase already picked, local fresh strawberries are a treat you won't want to miss. And you also won't want to miss Carlisle's own strawberry celebration - The First Religious Society Strawberry Festival which takes place Thursday, June 20.

Strawberry Festival a Carlisle tradition

Olivia Vienneau and Nadine Bishop dish out a generous portion of strawberry shortcake at the Strawberry Festival in 2001. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

According to member Ellen Huber, the Strawberry Festival is "a real community event" with as many as 600 attendees. Beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting "until it gets buggy and dark" the festival offers homemade strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream and berries purchased from Arena Farm in Concord (see below). Coffee and drinks are also provided. Music is by the Second Wind Barbershop Quartet consisting of Carlisle's Kerry Kissinger, Ray Taylor, and Jon Saphier and former Carlislean Roger Winsby. Other musical acts include folk singer and religious education director Dan Fassett, and the Morris Dance Team. Cost is $4 for adults and $3 for kids (who can enjoy the playground), and all are welcome, rain or shine. In addition, Huber invites anyone looking for "a nice sociable time" to hull strawberries that morning at 9 at the church.

Local strawberry picking

Huber remembers twenty-five years ago picking strawberries for the festival "at Allan Malcolm's place" which is now Malcolm Meadows. But though there is currently no spot in Carlisle, several local farms provide strawberry picking. Picking is a fun activity, especially for youngsters who especially enjoy having a role in gathering the family dessert (and doing their share of eating as they do it).

Parlee's Farm in Chelmsford (1-978-256-2859) is a local favorite. They are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Currently they report berries are "excellent" and will be at peak until the weekend of June 25 (after that, call for conditions). The farm also has pigs, chickens, sheep, miniature horses, and peacocks. They accommodate groups and offer hayrides - call 1-978-256-8883 to arrange. Parlee's is located at 135 Pine Hill Road. From Carlisle Center, take Lowell Road north to Rt. 4 and go left. At Chelmsford Center, go left on Rt. 110. Take Rt. 110 two miles to lights at Hunt Road and follow signs.

Claire Brandhorst enthusiastically reaches for her strawberry shortcake, while mom, Timmi and Emma wait patiently for their servings at last year's Strawberry Festival. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

Verrill Farm in Concord (1-978-369-5952 or reports they lost plants due to bad weather and asks that you call ahead for picking conditions. They are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. They will be picking for sale and plan a strawberry festival from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 22, with a jazz band, marionettes, hayrides, and strawberry shortcake. They are also accepting entries for the N. E. Culinary Guild Strawberry Recipe Contest to win one of several prizes. We'll publish the winning recipe in the Mosquito. They are located at 11 Wheeler Rd. Wheeler is a right turn off Sudbury Rd. south of Rt. 2.

Tougas Farm, Northborough (1-508-393-6406) Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. O.K, this isn't that close to Carlisle, but it's a cute place and I thought it would make a great Father's Day outing (if Dad is an outdoorsman) to combine strawberry picking with lunch at the Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in nearby Boylston. In addition to strawberry picking, Tougas offers a barnyard with animals, a play yard, and a farm kitchen with ice cream and snacks. Take Rt. 495 to Rt. 290 exit 24 (Church St.) toward Boylston, and follow the signs. Call ahead for conditions.

If you're not into picking, locally picked berries are available at the following:

Arena Farm in Concord (1-978-369-4769) located on Rt. 2. From Concord Center follow Rt. 2A to a right onto Cambridge Turnpike (at Concord Museum). At traffic light go right on Rt. 2 and look for Arena on right.

Hutchins Farm located in Concord (1-978-369-5041) on Monument Street. From Carlisle, follow River Rd. until it turns into Monument. Hutchins is on the left as you near the Minuteman Park. Their answering machine says due to "a multiple of factors" they are reorganizing and the farm stand will not be open this year. However, farm-picked strawberries are currently available on a "self-serve" basis.

Brigham Farm in Concord (1-978-287-4334) located on Route 117. Take Sudbury Road to Nine Acre Corner; turn left onto Rt. 117 and go about 1/4 mile. The farm is on the left. Picking starts this weekend, June 15, and will run approximately for three weeks. The farm is open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Did I miss your favorite? Contact me at and I'll print your suggestion next time.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito