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Wander past crop fields and cow pastures at the country’s oldest continuously operating farm.
What makes Appleton Farms a special place?
Rolling grasslands, grazing livestock, stone walls, and historic farm buildings are part of this 1,000 acre pastoral landscape – a rare glimpse into New England’s agricultural past. A gift of Colonel Francis R. Appleton, Jr., and his wife Joan, Appleton Farms is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the country, established and maintained by nine generations of the Appleton family.
Cows graze out on pasture and are milked each morning and afternoon – their milk is used to make aged and fresh cheeses on-site at our cheese kitchen and sent to be bottled in glass bottles at Puleo’s in Salem before returning to our Dairy Store. Fresh eggs are collected daily from the chicken “tractor” that houses our chickens, while our free-range grass-fed beef herd grazes in the Great Pasture. During the haying season, the farm produces thousands of bales of hay annually to feed the livestock, and all farm waste is composted and turned out on our fields. Hundreds of families visit the farm during the growing season to pick their own vegetables as a part of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Start your visit at Jimmy’s Barn where you will find our Farm Store, plenty of parking, and maps to lead you through the farm. Head out past the store and through the farm fields toward the barns to say hello to the friendly Jersey cows, goats, sheep, and chickens. Stop by the milking barn and observe the afternoon milking at 4PM each day and peek inside our creamery where we make our 5 different cheeses.
At our Carriage Barn, adults and equestrians will enjoy the tack room which displays Appleton family saddles, bridles, and fox hunting gear from years past while the children enjoy climbing aboard an antique carriage or exploring our Farm Discovery Boxes. The new Visitor Center is open Saturday and Sunday in winter and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May through October from 11AM-3PM. Visit our Visitor Center and read more about the “green” transformation of the Appleton family home, the Old House, and find out about things to see and do at the farm. Learn more about the Visitor Center at Appleton Farms.
Bring a picnic or pick up some provisions at our Farm Store and enjoy an afternoon in the gorgeous Stone Paddock across from the Carriage Barn.
Grasslands here harbor one of New England’s largest populations of bobolinks and meadowlarks. Wetlands provide important spring feeding stops for migrating marsh birds and are home to frogs and salamanders, including the rare blue- and yellow-spotted salamander. Deer, fox, coyote, and mink are found in the fields, while the elusive fisher is common in the woodlands. Fall brings migrating hawks, and pine stands shelter owls in winter.
Six miles of footpaths, bridle paths, and farm roads (easy walking and great for jogging strollers), some of which are part of the Bay Circuit Trail, crisscross the farm. We ask that you stay on marked paths and roads, observing which are for pedestrians and which for equestrians. You can also walk at the adjacent Appleton Farms Grass Rides.
When to Visit
Trails are open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hours, 3 hours if also visiting Appleton Farms Grass Rides. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the bucolic Stone Paddock.
Public restrooms are available in the Carriage Barn or the Visitor Center in the farmstead area.