Smolak Farm – 315 South Bradford Street, North Andover MA
Animals: The animals (turkeys, chickens, cows, goats, pigs, and peacocks) are located behind the store. It’s free to see the animals, they just ask for a $1 donation that you can leave in a container by the entrance. Food for the animals is in little hand-crank machines nearby for 25 cents per handful.
Food: If you get hungry you can get lunch inside the store, where they sell sandwiches, beverages and a variety of baked goods. (There are picnic tables outside the building near the ice cream window.) The store also offers an assortment of gift items such as packaged fudge, jars of preserves and small toys. And DO NOT leave without trying their cider donuts, which are the BEST I have ever had at any farm or bakery in my entire New England life.
Play Area: Over by the animals there is a two-level wooden pirate ship with windows that kids can climb up to, on to and into, as well as a wooden tractor and two little gazebos with ramps. Picnic tables are scattered through the area, and some are shaded under a tarp behind the chicken cage.
Seasonal Stuff: In the summer Smolak hosts a pop-up farm-to-table dinner series called Whim on Wednesday evenings during the summer season. They feature award-winning chefs (many from top Boston restaurants) who use the farm’s own fresh ingredients to create prix fixe menus. I haven’t tried their CSA yet, but it runs June – October and I’ve heard good things. A full share is $575 and a half share is $325. They have Pick Your Own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins. You can buy your Christmas tree here, or cut your own. Hayrides are offered for a fee, as are pictures and crafts in the barn with Santa.
Parking: Make sure that emergency brake is in working condition! Parking is on a grassy slope to the right of the entrance, and the exit is up a steep hill which really puts my stick shift driving to the test when there is a line to leave. There are a handful of paved spots in front of the store as well.
Tip: Beware of the free-roaming hens if you have toddlers who like to chase things. Also, bring the all-terrain stroller because this is a large farm and the attractions can be too far apart for tiny legs.