Strawberry Fest at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield celebrates ‘Connecticut-grown’

Strawberry Fest at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield celebrates ‘Connecticut-grown’

Record-Journal


MIDDLEFIELD – Lyman Orchards celebrated the first fruit harvest of the season with the annual Strawberry Fest Saturday afternoon, featuring exciting activities for children as well as live music and plenty of food.

“We’re showcasing what Connecticut-grown is all about,” said marketing director Tim Burt.

Workers prepare year-round, and when strawberry season begins, Lyman Orchards “comes alive,” said Burt. He estimated eight to 10 tons of strawberries would be picked today in the fields. Around 50,000 lbs are estimated to be picked this season, which ends around the first week of July.

Lyman Orchards has been a staple in the community for 276 years and is the 12th oldest family-run business in the nation, according to John Lyman, executive Vice President and the eighth generation of Lymans to run the company.

“We feel very strongly about being involved in the community,” said Lyman. Because of the immense amount of land the orchards cover, the company ends up being a large taxpayer and a major contributor to the community, he added.

The Lymans are always looking for ways to service the community, for example a portion of funds from the corn maze and sunflower maze go to the American Cancer Foundation and to the Connecticut Children’s Hospital. They also call on local businesses to partake in events like the Strawberry Fest.

The Fest featured Bruno Brothers Kettle Corn, pony rides, a pie-eating contest, The Golf Center’s large inflatable “Golfzilla,” face painting by Fantasy Faces by Ruth, The Connecticut Forest & Park Association promoting the 20th edition of the official trail book “CT Walk,” author Diane McCain autographing and discussing her new book “Thy Children’s Children,” a book about the Lymans, and local country singers Presley & Taylor.

Inside the Lyman Orchards Apple Barrel store, many local farms had vendors handing out samples of products. The store sells products from the Lyman orchards, but the store’s main focus is local farms around Connecticut and nearby states. They sell all sorts of produce, jams, jellies, honeys, candy, sweet and savory pies, cheeses, fudge, beverages, bakery items and more.

“We try to make the Strawberry Fest just a fun-filled day,” said Burt. “Get the family out of the house, get the kids away from the electronics, have some quality time with some good food and activities. We’re all about wholesome family fun.”

Lyman reported that crops are looking good this year. Last year, there were no peaches due to weather circumstances beyond their control, but crops are doing well this time around. After strawberry season comes raspberries and blueberries, then peahes, pears, apples, pumpkins and more.

Looking ahead, the Orchard will have multiple festivals this year including a Berry Fest in July, Peach Fest in August and Pear-a-Palooza in September.


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