Where do we find family farms in the Berkshires? Usually they’re just up the road. We can stop for a CSA share of greens and new peas. We can walk into a farm store and watch the cows come in at milking time. In late afternoon on a summer day, they line up to walk into the dairy. We can walk through the barnyard with the scent of mown grass and meet the calves and pick up cheese for a picnic.

Anyone who has ever felt a calf rasp her elbow with a rough tongue, or an ounce of week-old chick scuffle and settle to sleep against her collarbone, may understand why some of her neighbors get up early to milk the cows and let them out to pasture.

This morning, around the county, farmers are collecting warm eggs from nesting boxes — and pitching out the coop, and lining it with fresh straw. Some of them come to local markets, and some of them welcome you to stop by the farm for a fresh dozen eggs. Some of them have ways to watch, to look quietly at the animals, and occasionally to help.

Not all farms are set up for visitors. Farmers work long days, and farms are working places, so the ones that do welcome visitors have to make sure people are safe around the tractors and hay wagons, and the cattle and geese are safe around people, and that takes time.

Here are some farms that welcome casual visitors, though it always helps to check or call ahead. And some farm stands and orchards, pick-your-own and farmers markets and co-ops are open to all comers.

Farms in the Berkshires

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Photo by Kate Abbott

Hilltop Orchards

At Hilltop Orchards, the Vittori family grow apples and make cider and wine on 200 acres. A brother and sister, John and Wendy, bought the orchard more than 30 years ago and preserved the land. They have a farm store and trails open year-round.

Photo by Susan Geller

Lenox Farmers Market

The 2020 Lenox Farmer’s Market returns on Friday afternoons from June to early October in downtown Lenox, with farm cheeses, meats and eggs, locally grown vegetables and cut flowersand more, layer cakes and fresh breads.