Sweet Berry Farm Sweet Berry Farm
Farm Stand
  • Sweet Berry Farm
    915 Mitchell's Lane
    Middletown, RI (map)
    (401) 847-3912

    Daily - 8:30am-7:00pm
    Mid April-October 31st
    Daily 8:30am-6:00pm
    November-December 31st

    You'll also find: Local Artwork, Unique Gifts, Sweet Berry Farm Jams & Honey
Pick Your Own
  • Blackberries
    early August-September
    Daily 8:30 - 7:00
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
  • Strawberries
    Early June-Early July
    Daily 8:30am-7:00pm
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
  • Raspberries
    July-mid August
    Daily 8:30am-7:00pm
    Fall Berries--Late August-October
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
  • Peaches
    Late July - Early October
    Daily 8:30 - 7:00
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
  • Pumpkins
    Late September - October
    Daily 8:30 - 7:00
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
  • Blueberries
    Mid July-August
    Daily 8:30am-7:00pm
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
  • Apples
    September-Early November
    Daily 8:30am-7:00pm through October 31
    Daily 8:30am-6:00pm Nov-Dec
    * Call ahead just to be sure.
Family Fun
  • Events and celebrations
    6:00pm-8:00pm Tuesdays, July 8, 2008 to August 12, 2008 5:30pm-7:30pm Tuesdays, August 19, 2008 to August 26, 2008 1:00pm-3:00pm Sundays, September 7, 2008-Septemer 28, 2008
    Food Events with Free Concerts on the lawn. Bring your blankets and chairs to enjoy these free concerts. Our chefs are planning different food themes that will be available for purchase for each event . Concerts will be rescheduled in case of rain.
Sweet Berry FarmSweet Berry FarmSweet Berry Farm

Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, RI integrated pest mgmt / GAP certified


Founded in 1980, Sweet Berry Farm is a 100 acre farm run by Jan and Michelle Eckhart.
915 Mitchell's Lane
Middletown, RI

map | farms nearby

the story behind our farm

2 miles from Middletown, RI 02842
(401) 847-3912 preferred

E-mail msveckhart@cox.net

Visit our website

Mail
915 Mitchell's Lane
Middletown, RI 02842

A little about Sweet Berry Farm
Sweet Berry Farm is a full service specialty food market featuring farm fresh fruits and vegetables, local dairy products, artisan cheeses, and quality meats. Our kitchen produces baked goods, soups, sandwiches, pizzas and gourmet meals to eat in or take out.

Sweet Berry Farm has some recent exciting developments! The farm now offers site rentals in their new addition! The venue has high-beam ceilings, a grand stone fireplace, and is always filled with natural light beaming through the windows and skylights. This warm setting can hold up to 100 people and is conveniently connected to Sweet Berry Farm’s original farmstand and to go café. Outdoor event rentals are also available during the warmer months.

The farm stand also has beautifully arranged bouquets and cut flowers for immediate purchase. Special orders can be ordered for any future event ranging from weddings to private parties. Sweet Berry Farm’s flora arrangements are perfect for any occasion.

Next time you visit Sweet Berry Farm, make sure to check out the farm’s pick-your-own berries! From early June through October there are many different types of fruits to pick yourself! Whether it is strawberries, blueberries, peaches or pumpkins, there is always a delicious treat to pick! Don’t worry if you miss the PYO season for a particular fruit, the farm stand is likely to carry it pre-picked. Newport Life Magazine readers just voted Sweet Berry Farm the Best Local Grower of 2011! From April to December, Sweet Berry Farm always has a delightful treat and experience waiting for you! Visiting the farm is worth its own trip to Newport!

Fruit

Apples pyoBlackberries pyoBlueberries pyoCantaloupeCurrantsGooseberriesMelonsNectarinesPeaches pyoPearsRaspberries pyoStrawberries pyo

Vegetables

Herbs

BasilChivesCilantroDillLavenderLemon VerbenaMintOreganoParsleyRosemarySageThyme

Honey + Maple

Dairy + Eggs

Nursery + Flowers

Beverages

Spreads

Specialty

Baked Goods

Bold foods are in season now according to our Harvest Calendar. Call to find out exact availability. Every farm and every season are unique. Most farms are also residences. Unless Farmstand or Pick Your Own hours are noted, please be respectful and call ahead before going to the farm.

Farm Fresh RI regularly revises the Local Food Guide with new information.
Let us know if something is inaccurate.

Farm Profile: Sweet Berry Farm by Jackie Lantry, edible RHODY
Published: June 1, 2009

Middletown, RI - As I turned onto Mitchell’s Lane, I noticed two metal crows perched atop Sweet Berry Farm’s colorful roadside sign. Crows are cleansers.They take away decay. They’re intelligent birds said to have magical properties too, including an ability to divine the future and dismantle the past. Best of all, they collect trinkets and treasures, shiny things
that catch the eye, which they use to feather their nests.

Jan and Michelle Eckhart, owners of Sweet Berry Farm, it could be said, are very much the same. They’ve dismantled a bit of Middletown’s recent past (the practice of turning farm land into housing developments) by partnering with the Aquidneck Land Trust to preserve 80 acres of land.

What would have been a housing development is now a farm market surrounded by acres of peach and apple orchards, and rows of jewelcolored strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Flower gardens provide a seasonal supply of fresh-cut bouquets and in the fall you can pick apples or pumpkins and tag a Christmas tree.

It began when the Eckharts decided they wanted to work for themselves. In 1980 they bought a small (20 acre) farm and started selling strawberries and Christmas trees. In the summer months they sold their “pickings” at a few local farmers’ markets. Tired of hauling canopies, chairs, crates and baskets off site, they began selling from home. One white canopy went up near their goat shed. It was self-service with an honor system.

Before long the one canopy turned into two, then three, four, five and six. It was around this time that Jan learned about 80 acres nearby, slated for sale by an developer.Working with the Land Trust and the developer, they struck a deal, and Sweet Berry Farm grew to 100 acres.

Today 80 acres are under cultivation. In 2005 they constructed a post-and-beam building, complete with a walk-in cooler, restaurant kitchen and space for a café. Strawberries, still warm from the summer sun, go from the field to the kitchen to a lucky café patron in a matter of minutes.

Sweet Berry Farm is GAP (good agricultural practices) certified for its use of integrated pest management. For example, the farm grows buckwheat as a “green manure crop,” meaning the buckwheat is grown specifically to be plowed under as fertilizer. Clover, planted between crops and Christmas trees, prevents erosion. Honeybees are in on the act too. After pollinating the clover, buckwheat and wildflowers, they get busy making honey, which is then harvested and sold (raw, not pasteurized) in the market.

The new barn is filled to bursting with trinkets (kitchenware, funky umbrellas, brightly colored aprons); treasures (mosaics byMartin Cheek, garden sculpture by Ben O’Brien, honey jars by Brenda Wrigley-Scott) and all manner of things to feather one’s nest. It’s also where you see, sample and buy to take home the best of the farm’s bounty.

My aunt, Charlotte Bliss, and I can vouch for Chef Steve Corey’s house-made peach jam, Susanna’shouse-made Meyer lemon ice cream, their oatmeal chocolate
chip cookies, wildflower honey, reuben panini, fresh coffee and an armload of freshly cut flowers. (This was all part of one visit…no kidding).

The reuben panini (picked from an array of grill-your-ownselections) was almost too big to bite into. The buttery grilled rye bread gave way to tender, juicy pastrami… and just at the precipice of “too rich,” the tart, crunchy sauerkraut whacked it back in line. The Russian dressing squished perfectly out the sides, requiring some quick (yet ladylike) back of the hand slurping maneuvers. Aunt Charlotte, a true New England lady, is proper, not at all prone to silliness and a bit formal. On the ride home she dove into the lemon ice cream (“Oh dear, this may melt before we get home…”). She ate straight from the container with a plastic spoon. For a minute I thought she might tear open
the cardboard container in order to lick out the rest. It was worth every fat-laden super-premium, lemony, creamy, tangy drop. The play of lemon zest against the velvety rich cream was perfection.

My kids tucked into the honey as soon as they got home, slathering the dense, amber liquid over grilled Portuguese sweet bread as an after school snack. The following morning I made waffles (OK, I popped them into the toaster, but they were good toaster waffles) and spread them with a thick layer of peach preserves. It was like eating pie
filling on a waffle. Nuggets of sun-ripened peaches, fragrant in justsweet- enough jam, melted into the warm waffles.

On the day of our visit we watched kids play outside after picking berries, while their parents sipped coffee and looked on from the café porch. Inside, a group of ladies sat around a big table knitting and talking. The day’s main topics were the delicious food (much of which was shared) and what to name their knitting group (Knit and Nosh sounded good to me). Another couple enjoyed a quiet lunch at a table in the picnic area.

All the while, the market bustled with customers picking out artisan cheeses, the farm’s hand-made jellies, jams and sausage, fresh eggs, local seafood and every manner of seasonal produce, fresh from the fields.

The café serves breakfast and lunch. It’s self-service, complete with filling out your own “guest check” and grilling your own panini.While dinner is not served, you can pick it up and take it home (my sister Suzanne’s favorite type of home-made: “I made it come home with me,” she says.). The menu is based on seasonable availability and has a gourmet flair, without being pretentious.

Sweet Berry Farm is dedicated to supporting local food sources as well as local artists and craftspeople. You’ll find products from Little Rhody Foods, Arruda’s Dairy, Helger’s Turkey Farm and Bristol Bakery, to name just a few. They host local authors and musicians as well. On Tuesday evenings during the summer you can enjoy a free concert (the schedule is on their website). Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic if they want (or just buy it there). New this year, the farm is available for special events—imagine a wedding in a peach orchard!'

Like those crows, Jan and Michelle Eckhart are “divining the future” of their neighborhood through Sweet Berry Farm—and the rest of us can come and enjoy their local treasure.

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Jackie Lantry is a freelance writer based in New England. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio and in Yankee Magazine and the Providence Journal.