STERLING, Mass. — While it might say little about the farm itself, the front porch at Meadowbrook Orchards is immediately inviting to anyone who might already be in a winter state of mind.
Located only 14 miles from Wachusett Mountain ski area, it fits that the central Mass. orchard would welcome guests to its 100 acres of rolling farmland with a loveseat created out of vintage Atomic ARC and Völkl P30 skis.
Skiing is a passion for the Chandler family, which has owned Meadowbrook Orchards since 1912. David Chandler, who died in 2019, skied regularly and officiated ski races around New England for all of his children. And the orchard’s restaurant is the perfect, early-morning stop for skiers to make for a hearty breakfast en route to the Wachusett trails less than a half-hour away. General manager David Chandler has been a coach there for more than 15 years. His mother, Kathy, was the ski school director at Wachusett during the 70s and 80s. She also founded Waterville Valley’s Adaptive Snowsports Program in 1992 and has a trail named after her — Chandler’s Way — on Green Peak. In 2013, she was inducted into the Adaptive Sports Hall of Fame for being “one of the first PSIA adaptive and alpine certified examiners in the East,” and is also a member of the Massachusetts Special Olympics and the Waterville Valley Halls of Fame.
Five generations of Chandler family have worked at the farm since its inception. Visitors will find four varieties of apples (cortland, macintosh, macoun, and empire) to pick on their own through October, just as they might at several other orchards within the vicinity. But the bakery, restaurant, and farm store at Meadowbrook are the true stand-outs, utilizing the fresh produce on the farm to create a wonderful medley of baked goods, fresh sandwiches, and barbecue offerings. Just as attractive as the items are on the menu, wait until you see the prices.