Monday, August 25, 2014

Verrill Farm Day, BBQ, and Apple Pie Contest - Concord, MA

Next Verrill Farm Day, BBQ, and Apple Pie Contest:
Saturday, September 6th, 2014 in Concord, MA. Full listing details here.

Verrill Farm Concord MA - New England Fall Events Farm Day and BBQ
With many family and harvest festivals to choose from every fall, in 2013 New England Fall Events had the pleasure of visiting Verrill Farm in Concord, MA. With sunny weather and a gentle breeze, it couldn’t have been a lovelier day to celebrate our favorite season.

The Verrill FarmFarm Day and BBQ” does a very nice job striking the right balance for a weekend gathering—there is plenty to do yet they manage to maintain a laid-back feel. It’s just pure, outdoor, fall fun. As many families feel that their weekends can be jam-packed, why make time to fit in one more thing? The Verrill Farm event is worth your time for the sheer fact that it is relaxing and peaceful—it is entertaining for people of all ages while being a respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
For one, it’s not nuts. There are various activities scheduled throughout the day—pony rides, hayrides, live music and the like, but the fun can be had without stumbling to your car feeling totally overstimulated. At the risk of sounding trite, it really is a good, old-fashioned, relaxed time spent outdoors.

Verrill Farm Day BBQ Concord MA New England Fall Events
Verrill Farm's wide open space left
plenty of room to play and roam
and never left us feeling crowded
A good way to get a sense of how an event is going can be understood by observing the people all around you. How are they spending their time and is everyone squabbling at each other and being pulled in different directions? This festival had plenty of attendees, mostly families, and with a wide yard, there was plenty of space for people to enjoy themselves without ever feeling crowded. 

The food lines, the pony walks, and the hayride queue were never too long or slow—they moved along and the kids were happy as can be. Dozens of parents just moseying around, wearing their infants in a sling and watching their toddlers play with plenty of room to roam and move. With the parking lot separated from the festivities, it was a very safe and spacious area for kids of all ages to play and, without tight crowds, parents had peace of mind that their kids could roam without ever getting far out of vision.
Verrill Farm Day Tanglewood Marionettes Concord MA New England Fall Events
Tanglewood Marionettes held a captive
audience of kids and adults alike.

The hill was quickly claimed by kids for log rolling and running—it was such a welcome sight to see so much spontaneous free play all around. There were tented areas with picnic tables for those who preferred to eat and relax in the shade or to simply listen to the band playing. A table was set up for entries into the apple pie contest (though not for the general public to taste or judge) and pie display could be observed by all. 

The puppet show by the Tanglewood Marionettes held a captive audience of adults and kids alike. It was a generous touch that the puppets were kept on display before and after the show for people to appreciate and enjoy the artistry up close—a particularly thrilling experience for the kids.

The food was very, very good—pulled pork BBQ, fresh corn, and cole slaw being the main attraction. Some of the best BBQ I recall eating last year—and although it wasn’t noted on the menu board, many of the items-including the BBQ—were gluten free as confirmed by the chef who was on-site at the food tent.

Verrill Farm Day Heirloom Tomatoes Concord MA New England Fall Events
The Verrill Farm selection of heirloom
tomatoes was a true feast for the eyes 
If you’ve been to Verrill before then it goes without saying that you wouldn’t dare leave the farm empty-handed. The adjacent farm stand was bursting with stellar produce, mostly local, much of it harvested right at Verrill. The raspberry display was luscious in its color and ripeness and the abundant harvest of heirloom tomatoes drew everyone in—we, too, left with a fat brown bag’s worth of colorful tomatoes and some fresh burratta cheese.
The interior of the farm stand offered heaping tables of fresh-picked vegetables and fruit, beautifully displayed and clearly labeled with where it was harvested. There was a full wall of refrigerated cases packed with prepared meals, soups, sauces, and trays of heat-and-serve dinners. Nearly all of these prepared meals were cooked right there at Verrill and you could also find goodies such as local honey for purchase.

There's a full schedule of events for Verrill Farms' 2014 Farm Day here. Other goodies are added this year such cookbook author Terry Golson who will be bringing her hens to the event (visit her blog here) and Patti Small's On the Edge mobile knife sharpening service (this lady single-handedly brought my beloved chef's knives back to life for which I am grateful!).

Festival Tips:
Verrill Farm Day Hayrides Concord MA New England Fall Events
Hayrides throughout
the day at Verrill Farm
  • Come hungry. With plenty of fantastic BBQ to be had, you will not want to miss out.
  • Bring cash—it keeps the line moving along quickly.
  • Take it easy—the whole vibe of this gathering is well-organized but laid-back. Come to relax and enjoy the day.
  • The Verrill Farm BBQ and Harvest Fest is a great time if you’re without kids though many of the activities are geared toward families with kids.
  • Parking is easy and free. We arrived at the start of the event and snagged a spot right across from the action.
  • Although there were many shady areas, places to sit under trees, the large tented area provided respite from the sun if you prefer.
  • Don’t even think of leaving the event empty-handed of the beautiful produce and prepared meals from the sizable farm stand.

Family Tips:
Verrill Farm Day Pony Rides Concord MA New England Fall Events
Pony rides delighted the kids and
the lines were never too long
  • The manageable size of the event and the manageable crowds make for a relaxing experience for kids and parents alike.
  • It’s a great place for kids to roam and play.
  • Pack a picnic blanket if you wish to spread out and make a “home base.”
  • As the cars are parked across the side street, it’s easy to leave things in the car and access as needed.
  • The area is very stroller friendly, nearly all on grass, but some areas are a little hilly.
  • Gluten-free BBQ and side options are available if that’s important to you but you’ll need to ask the chef which ones since they were not pre-marked on the menu board.

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