My husband’s work schedule has loosened up a little, so he’s been able to actually get his days off more often than not lately. We don’t get to do a lot as a family usually and since this is the last summer before our daughter starts school, we wanted to take advantage of being able to get away and do a little something…even if it’s just for a day.
The Dallas/Fort Worth area has tons of activities and attractions to keep everyone busy for the summer or any other time of the year. While you may be familiar with places like Six Flags, The Stockyards, or the JFK Memorial Plaza, there are a lot of other smaller places that many people overlook or don’t know about. Thus, Day Trip DFW was conceived. Each Day Trip DFW article will feature a different place (or places) that are in the DFW area, or within easy driving distance.
First up is a place that isn’t even a 10-minute drive for me, and we visit it multiple times during the summer: Ham Orchard.
Ham Orchard is a 100-acre peach farm started by the Ham family in 1979. Over the years, their small stand has grown into a full farm market store (the most complete in Texas) with a bakery, homemade ice cream, fudge bar, and a BBQ pavilion. Aside from peaches, they also have a variety of other fruit trees and two blackberry patches, one of which is open to the public during harvest time. It’s open from mid-May to mid-August.
My daughter and I went there last week to see what peaches they had in, as well as getting a few pounds of blackberries so that I could make some blackberry jam. We originally intended to make a quick stop, but ended up being there for a few hours. The reason: we were in the blackberry patch…and then got hungry…and also spent a good while in the shop drooling over pies.
The blackberry patch is open during the first part of the season, and you can almost always count on there being people out there. The best time to go out there in first thing in the morning when Ham’s opens (at 9 am). It’s not as hot and you have more berries. We probably got out there around 10 or 10:30 and there were several day care groups out there. We got a bucket from the counter and headed out. It was very muddy due to the torrential rain we had been having. The pathway is lined with think tarps, so you don’t have to worry about getting dirty. The patch itself is huge. I’m not even sure how many rows there are. There were a few smallish groups out there but we never even got close to them.
My daughter was very excited since this was her first time in the patch. The last few years it has been way too hot to be out there. We went down one the first rows. On first glance, it looked relatively picked through. But we found that no one had really dug into the bushes & only grabbed the easy to get ones. My daughter could have cared less about thorns and was all but climbing into the bushes. During the course of about an hour & forty-five minutes, we went down two rows and nearly filled the small bucket. We saw a lot of birds, butterflies, and a large assortment of insects. In all, we ended up with around 3 ½ pounds of berries (and a slight sunburn).
The Farm Market
The farm market has seen several expansions in the last few years. The most recent doubled its size, giving a lot more room for people to move around when it’s busy (which is most of the time). There are three large tables of fresh peaches, followed by a booth with dip mixes & seasonings. There are then racks of fresh produce, more tables with second’s produce (peaches, fruit, & veggies), and a large table filled with pies, cobblers, and other desserts. And that’s just the area running through the middle. Along the walls are racks filled with jellies, jams, picked food, syrup, pecans, fruit, honey, cases of peaches, and more. At the back, you can find the fudge case and the homemade ice cream. We make special trips out just for the ice cream. It’s that good.
After browsing the shop & purchasing our spoils, we were hot and hungry. The BBQ pavilion is a fairly recent addition and we hadn’t tried it before. You order at the kitchen house, and then walk over to the pavilion. It has a large assortment of picnic tables, barrel tables with retro chairs, and rocking chairs. There is also a little screen house with the soda fountain, tea, fixings, and all the other odds and ends you need. The temperature under the pavilion had to have been a good 15 degrees cooler and felt like heaven. The cold drinks didn’t hurt either. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich & drink, and my daughter got the hot dog kids meal (comes with a drink & bag of chips).
It was ready in a few minutes, and then we enjoyed our food while watching people come and go. We were amused at how many local delivery trucks were stopping in & getting things. My friend was there about two years back and watched a train stop right at the crossing. Her daughters were with her and asked if the driver was getting ice cream when they saw him get out & go into the market. She said he was probably just stopping to use the bathroom. However, the driver came back out a few minutes later with a bag & an ice cream cone. Needless to say, everyone stops at Hams.
Hams is located just off of Highway 80, outside of Terrell. You can’t miss it. There are large signs & usually a line of cars on each side of the highway waiting to turn in. They are open Monday through Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Here are some of the pictures that I took while we ere there. There are three images that only show the top portion, and you can click on them to see the full image.
**This took me a little longer to write up than I thought it would. The weather has been nice for a change, if hot, so we’ve been out and about. It also took a while to get the pictures ready. The next Day Trip DFW article will feature the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler.