The statements made on this website are the personal opinions of Laura and Diane. If we feel that a restaurant visit is not up to par, please remember it is our opinion. If you disagree with us, feel free to write us at info@newenglandbites.com.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sweet Berry Farm and Mello's Farm

The first in a series of local farm and farm stand reviews by New England Bites.

Sweet Berry Farm
915 Mitchell's Lane
Middletown, RI  02842
(401) 847-3912

August 7, 2010

Laura & I love to go to farms and farm stands and to support our local farmers. We're very lucky to live in New England where numerous farm stands abound. This is how we came to the conclusion that a farm stand review was in order. But we couldn't possibly include every stand in this area so we decided to concentrate on those that have something extra to offer , something more than great fruits and veggies. And this is what brought us to SWEET BERRY FARM .....and my BIG faux-pas.

I looked up info. on local spots on my trusty PC ( her name is Dell-icious ) hee-hee. I was bowled over by Sweet Berry Farm's web-site. Besides the pick your own section of the farm ( right now they have blackberries, peaches & blueberries ) , they have a converted farmhouse that houses a market , Cory's Kitchen , Susanna's ice cream and a self-serve cafe. WOW ! We were going to be here all day . And that brings in my faux-pas. For some reason I got it in my head that all the different sections of the farmhouse were their own entities. I was wrong. Each of these businesses are a section of the one building .

We arrived around 3:30pm. and were taken by the beauty of this place. The farm is so neat and organized . We loved seeing the pick-your-own signs scattered here and there. And the building that houses everything is absolutely adorable. On this day there were sunflowers and corn stalks all over the porch ,so inviting.We entered and did a quick look-around to see if we could find everything mentioned on their site. We did .Everything is there, just not what I expected .Again, my mistake.

The first thing we hit was a freezer with some pints , half-pints and kiddie cups ( a fantastic idea ) of Susanna's home-made ice cream. The site had mentioned these pints etc. but I thought we would be able to also get some fresh ice cream on the premises . I thought we'd be having a cone there and bringing a pint home. But the only ice cream was in the freezer. We decided we would get some to eat after we looked around.

What I thought was going to be a good sized marketplace turned out to be a double -sided counter with baskets of fruits and veggies and surrounded by shelves of homemade jams , relishes , spreads etc. Everything listed on their site was here and interesting to look through. The prices were a little steep but usually are for these things . They're homemade, unique and special. The veggies and fruits looked nice and freshly picked.

Cory's Kitchen was a table crammed with all manner of goodies ( of course I thought it was going to be a big bakery ) and freezers stocked with ready-made sandwiches, salads, soups and meals. All foods came from Cory's and are said to be delicious. We ended up getting 2- large cookies ( chocolate chip & peanut butter chip ) ,a Jewish rye bread ( Bristol Bakery ) and Cory's chocolate pudding pound cake. We later found the cookies to be very dry, (I had more crumbs on my shirt than in my mouth) and not very flavorful. That was a disappointment . But they were redeemed by that pound cake . It was so chocolaty and so moist . It cut like "buttah". Everyone raved about it and it didn't last long. The rye was terrific. It had that lovely 'chew' you want in a rye bread , a great dense texture and fantastic flavor. Their pies looked amazing but at almost $20.00 each were a little steep ,I thought.

Finally we came upon the self-serve cafe. Now here's me being stupid again. For some reason I envisioned a counter where you would be able to order a sandwich made with freshly cut meats & cheeses on freshly made breads, then bring it yourself to a table ( the self-serve part ) .What you in fact do do is pick out your pre-made sammies,salads or meals from the freezers and any bakery items you may crave and go eat at one of the tables in the cute little cafe. They do have hot coffee and a hot soup station you can also take advantage of . There's also a microwave for your convenience. This was WAY more self-serve than I wanted. We had fully intended to have lunch here but I didn't want my Saturday lunch out to be pre-made sandwiches or salad. That was fine for picking up for work or a quick supper but not for my day out . So we lunched elsewhere.

We did however have a half-pint each of Susanna's SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL ice cream outside at the lovely little tables. I want so much to say it was terrific because it was , if you got down deep enough. You see...it had freezer burn . The whole top was thickened and pasty and coated your tongue , but not in a pleasant way. But if you dug under this layer , you got a taste sensation. The ice cream was tasty and had a fantastic caramel flavor . Delicious. Maybe the freezers were too high .

Would I come back to SWEET BERRY FARM ....definitely. Now that we know exactly what it is and not what was in my imagination . And I want to see what they're building on the side of the existing structure. Maybe more cafe or bakery or ice cream parlor. MEA CULPA...MEA CULPA ,,,,MEA CULPA.

Our grand total came to:

2 cookies - $3
Chocolate pound cake - 6
Rye bread - 4
2 half pints - 9.98
TOTAL (w/tax) = $23.24

Sweet Berry Farm is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through December.


Mello's Farm
364 Boyd's Lane
Portsmouth, RI  02871
(401) 624-6329

We've been going by this place forever . But we're dense and really didn't pay much attention to the name . But after looking for farm stands on-line ,we came across this one and decided to check it out. So Saturday after having lunch we headed out to Portsmouth to see what MELLO'S had to offer.

Hey, these roads were looking really familiar. So was the area. "I think I know what this place is ". That was Laura ( her light bulb just coming on ) . Mine was still off. "Where are we "? This is me , of course. LOOK ! And here we were at a place we've passed more times than I can count. But today we finally go in. Only took like 12 years.

The farm stand was founded in 1998 by Arthur Mello and the family runs it to this day. I love that stuff. There's a large parking area overlooking the fields and a large building that houses it's wares for sale. The first thing you come upon is the flowers. Gorgeous hanging plants in every color and variety you can imagine. This is the place to come if you want something amazing hanging from your porch. The sight really takes your breath, they're so beautiful.

But I was here for the food ( NO NOT YOU ) . The fruit & veggie counter was smaller than I'd hoped but we were here late in the day (around 5:30) so they may have been picked over. Still they had a nice assortment. The first thing we encountered were huge cucumbers ( only 2/$1.00 ) . Now Laura has been wanting to make cucumber "tea" sandwiches ever since she's been watching the Brit-Coms on PBS. ( Are you free ? ) So we picked out a big cuke as our 1st. purchase. I had wanted to get some green peppers ( to make stuffed peppers ) but they were a little soft from being out in the sun all day . I did buy up every last green grape they had. They were so big, juicy & sweet I would have gotten more had they had them. I also got some very nice summer squash ( a little small but nicely firm & yellow) to satisfy the hubby whom ( had he said he hadn't had summer squash one more time ) I would have squashed his cigs. And finally I got some corn-on-the-cob because I have to get corn-on-the-cob or I'll feel there was no summer.

I liked MELLO'S , I'll try to come back earlier next time because I'm sure there will be a bigger selection. They don't have their own web-site but you can see what they currently have by clicking this link at FarmFresh.org.That's what I did.

Our purchases this day were four yellow squash, a bunch of grapes, a large cucumber, and three ears of corn - all for $5.99.  Very reasonable and everything was delicious.

P.S. Laura's fancy cucumber and cream cheese sandwich .....NOT great ! lol

Mello's Farm Stand is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May through November. 


Don't forget to visit MenuJoy.com for great restaurant menus in your area.