visit one of Massachusetts’ most spectacular farms in the
heart of Central Massachusetts. Our farm store, winery
and orchard stand on a site filled with early American
history. Founded in 1733, our farm was the first
settlement in the South County area. In 1733, Obadiah
McIntyre, of Salem Massachusetts, was given a land grant
by King George of England for his services as town
constable. The land grant was for 300 acres of wilderness
land. He was elected to the first board of selectman when
the frontier lands were organized into a district in 1755.
Today, down town Charlton is full of his memory. In the
common area are the homes of his sons and grandchildren.
Samuel McIntyre’s (Obadiah’s oldest son) mansion, at the
corner of Old Worcester Road and Main Street, is now the
Southbridge Savings Bank.
in the 1920s through the early 1940s, this farm was used
as a cattle stockyard. The old Morton Train Station was
located just to the right of our driveway. As many as
50,000 head of cattle, brought in from the western United
States, and headed for the eastern city markets were
grazed on our fertile pastures.
legend tells a story about the last legal hanging in
Massachusetts, in the fall of 1937, being held on our
farm. Two desperados, ages 19 and 20, killed a local
farmer for his money. The 19 year old, stole the farmer’s
gold watch and was identified in a local tavern, when he
pulled out the watch to check the time. Eager for justice
and watching the clock closing on public hangings, the
Charlton town’s people voted to hang the two in October of
1937, at the old stockyard across from Morton Station.
People from all over Massachusetts and Northern
Connecticut came and watched the last public hanging.
this tree still on our farm? Possibly! Look to your
right as you travel up the driveway. Some of the maple
trees along side the property at Old Worcester Road are
over 100 years old.
Central Massachusetts’ development pushed on, the new
Route 20 highway was constructed, and the farm suffered in
the name of progress. The highway split the farm in half,
140 acres on the south side and 160 acres on the north
side of the highway. Today the north side of Route 20 is
home to the Charlton Industrial Park and Charlton
Landscape Supply Company. The South Farm became Charlton
In the spring of
1949, Nelson Wheeler planted the first apple trees, on the
land that latter would be known as Charlton Orchards.
Magnificent pin oaks were planted, in 1956, along each
side of the road leading to the center of the orchards and
the store. By 1960, peaches and blueberries were added to
compliment the apple crop. Charlton Orchards opened for
business that year, and quickly realized that
pick-your-own would be an important part of their
business. Mrs. Wheeler says, “ We never advertised.
Nice people told nice people.”
In 1970, the
Wheelers sold the orchard to Brookfield Orchards. The
farm was under Brookfield’s ownership, until 1998.
Sometime during the 1970s and 1980s portions of the farm
were sold off to pay bills and allow for replanting and
expansion money. Also during this time the main farm
house was disassembled and reassembled at Sturbridge
Village. In 1998, the farm was down to only 100 acres,
200 acres smaller than it was over 250 years ago. That was
the year we purchased the farm.
Who are we? We
are the Benjamins. Nathan and Patty Benjamin purchased
the farm along with their son and daughter-in-law, Nate
Jr. and his wife Cathy, and their children, Kaitlyn,
Sarah, and Jillian, to continue the traditions of this
farm. Today, the farm supplies the area with apples,
peaches, pears, plums, blueberries, strawberries,
raspberries, blackberries, pumpkins
and vegetables. All is sold in the original farm stand
the Wheelers built. Of cause it has had a few additions
made to it. Pick-your-own, continues to be an important
part of the orchard operation.
In 1998, Route
20 once again was under construction and the farm lost
another 6 acres to progress and the widening of the
highway. The Farm is now made up of 94 acres of pristine
countryside. In 2013, we had 16 acres of apples, 2 acres of
pears, 3 acres of peaches, .5 acres of nectarines, 3 acres of strawberries, 5
acres of blueberries, 1.5 acres of Raspberries and
Blackberries and additional acres in Plums, Cherries,
greenhouses, 4 acres of vegetables and 5
acres of pumpkins, 2 acres of wine grapes, acres of
woodland, and not enough time in a day.
In 1999, we
build a bakery and increase its size in 2002. We also
added Cider Donuts to our bakery list in 2002. 2002 saw
the opening of the winery, a dream that took 4 years
to complete. We also changed the name of the farm, from
Charlton Orchards to Charlton Orchards Farm, to better
identify our diversification. We are now more than just
an apple orchard. By March of 2005, we
completed our Retail Greenhouse addition, with our Farm
Store, just in time for this springs, bedding vegetable
In 2009, we added We'll Scoop It ice
cream shop, serving only We Like It Ice Cream.
Farm fresh ice cream made fresh each week and naturally
flavored. We subsequently closed the ice cream store
when Kait left for college.
Since owning this farm, we have experienced 2 Microburst
(small tornados) 1 large tornado, and 5 major
hurricanes, and in 2008 a massive ice storm. Each
storm caused property and or crop damage. In 2011,
we hit the trifecta of storms. We experienced a
tornado in May, a hurricane in August, and a major
Northeaster snow storm in October.
We struggled for
some time with a name for our new winery. We finally
decided to name the winery Obadiah McIntyre Farm Winery.
The name is important to us for 2 reasons;
It reminds us
that we are stewards of this land, this land having been
a farm longer than our country has been a country.
We are a farm
and it was important to us that we placed the word farm
in our name to remind others as well as ourselves of our
traditions and heritage.
2015 was bittersweet for us. After
working so hard to build our wine business, we saw it
completely destroyed in one night by a raging fire.
Someone started a fire in our storage building, it quickly
spread to the woods and worked it's was to our winery.
We lost everything within a couple of hours. We lost
all our wine, equipment and supplies. From the storage
building, we lost most all of our apple boxes, peach
baskets, irrigation supplies, packaging supplies, farm
equipment and personal items.
For 2016, we have decided to downsize,
reduce the number of farm markets we attend, and
concentrate on farming our fruit.
The farm is open
from June through November of each year for your
PYO enjoyment, Change is never easy, but it is
So come see us at Charlton Orchards Farm, and let our family
meet your family.
44 Old Worcester Road
Charlton, MA 01507
Phone (508) 248-7820