Show Your Kids Where Food Comes From, Pick Your Own Farms

 

Warm earth underfoot, afternoon sunlight glistening on arched grasses, and the scent of fresh pressed apple cider.  Pick your own farms, there’s no better way to know — and show kids — where food from comes from than to pick it yourself.  Picking your own fruit is joyful work, a sweet task that is especially popular with the youngsters.

Get connected with fresh local food and the farmers who grow it.   Pick Your Own Farms (PYO) are located in all the 50 states.  The Pick Your Own.org website allows searches of farms by state, region, or county, type of produce, and crop harvest/avaliablity dates.  It offers abundant information on fruit and vegetable harvesting tips, and directions on how to preserve your harvest by freezing, canning, or preserving.

An afternoon of pumpkin picking and climbing apple trees is exhausting, and it can leave the family famished!  Luckily, PYO farms customarily sell refreshments to reenergize weary field hands:  fresh cider, cider donuts, apple pies, pastries from seasonal fruits, and home made lunches at the farm’s salad bar or bakery.  And, for those unable to trek the fields, a wide selection of seasonal produce can also be purchased at most farm’s roadside vegetable stand.

Many PYO farms also offer family a wide array of activities to enhance the family farm experience.  Seasonal activities such as: corn mazes, tractor pulled hay rides, live music, picnic areas, bouncy castles, pony rides, farm animals, tomato festivals, corn fests, strawberry festivals, Halloween haunted barns, antique auto shows, cut your own Christmas trees, and even Easter egg hunts.

A few tips before you go:

  • Call ahead to check availability because u-picks are seasonal.
  • Bring cash. Some small farms are cash-only.
  • Bring hats for everyone, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Wear lightweight, long-sleeved cotton shirts and long pants to protect your skin from getting scratched by vines or branches.  Wear closed-toed shoes or sneakers, not flip-flops or sandals.
  • Leave your pets at home.

Benefits of buying produce a Pick-Your-Own Farms:

  • Provides extremely fresh produce.
  • Supports the local economy.
  • Knowing where your food comes from is comforting. Shake the hand of the farmer who grows it.  Ask him about his farming and pest management practices.
  • Lower prices.  PYO produce is a fraction of the usual grocery store price.
  • Educates children on where fruit and vegetables come from.  And, PYO gives them a sense of the effort and work involved in food growth and harvesting.
  • If planning to process your harvest, you can also demonstrate to children how food is preserved by, cooking, baking, freezing, and canning the produce that you picked.
  •  Harvesting your food at local PYO is an environmentally responsible choice. (It eliminates greenhouse gasses generated when trucking produce across the country or from other parts of the world).
  • Less packaging shipped to landfills.  (Produce in grocery stores need insulation and/or protection during shipping to prevent bruising, this packaging ends up in landfills.)

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Activities

Author:Rebecca Rogers

Author-Food Journalist-Food Photographer

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