July 7, 2018, Blackstone, MA—Why are there two huge cast iron kettles built into a stone shelf inside the front entryway? Why is there an outbuilding raised up on stilts? Why did they keep two stoves—and so many other antique items accumulated by generations of farming families? The curiosity of visitors is satisfied each time a tour is given at the historic Daniels Farmstead at 286 Mendon Street in Blackstone. Through the landscape, buildings and objects tended by ten generations of farming families, this remarkable historic site teaches visitors about farming life from the 18th century until today. Visitors also enjoy a modern-day harvest, with a variety of vegetables, flowers and herbs grown at the farm and offered with several other produce and craft vendors at a Farmers Market in the historic farmyard.
During the growing season on each Sunday, July 7 through September 29, 2019, the Daniels Farmstead will be open for tours offered by knowledgeable guides from 11:00 to 3:00. This is the perfect time to visit because each Sunday brings the Farmers Market to the Daniels property. Justine Brewer, a descendant of the Daniels family and part of the tenth generation to carry on family tradition, is a founding member of the Daniels Farmstead Foundation which has been working to preserve the property and share it with the community. Its most recent efforts are centered around the remarkably intact apple cider mill. About the tours and Farmers Markets, she said, “I think that my Aunt Dot and Uncle Charlie cared so much about this place and about their family that it is perfect to tell their stories to other visiting families, and to let everyone enjoy the fresh organic produce grown right here.”
Mrs. Brewer described how the family that lived in the house until 1998 enjoyed entertaining with music, had a special understanding of nature, and an active interest in culture and the community. The special events now offered by the Daniels Farmstead Foundation reflect these interests. During the Farmers Market on every Sunday, July 7 through September 29, there are healthy recipes using organic vegetables available as handouts, fresh food from the grill, and special musical selections from area artists.
Inside the charming white clapboards of the farmstead, visitors are guided through twelve rooms on the first floor, from the rustic back entryway to the fancy formal parlor. Two pantries, one used as a buttery, and the first indoor plumbing in Blackstone are highlights. Generations of family furniture, artwork, interior architecture, and everyday household objects represent more than two centuries of farming life. Though the site has been a farm since 1685, the oldest part of the farmstead dates to as early as 1760, while the main part of the building was added in the Greek Revival style between 1798 and 1820. Six outbuildings complete the property, which is surrounded by 60 acres of fields and forests.
Each Sunday afternoon at the Daniels Farmstead is an opportunity for a satisfying visit to this beautiful and rural spot within easy reach of residents of the Blackstone Valley. Not only can people tour the house and grounds in about half an hour, they can also fill up their pantries with fresh produce, freshly-baked goodies from Doris’ Kitchen and an array of vendors with locally grown or made produce and crafts. Visitors can plan to stay for the afternoon with a picnic lunch fresh from the grill and cold soft drinks kept on ice. All of these activities are free of charge for Daniels Farmstead members and donations are gratefully accepted. Admission to the grounds for the Farmers Markets and Sunday activities is free of charge. For more information, please visit www.danielsfarmstead.org or call 508-726-2042.
The Daniels Farmstead Foundation, Inc. is managed by a volunteer board. The website will be updated with all special events.
Written by Jane Hennedy.