Making Precious Memories with Children by Picking Food at a Farm 09.10.2013

If you know how to make precious memories with your children by picking food at a farm, please tell me how you did it.  My kids get wicked cranky 10 minutes into any farming adventure, so I have to strategically (and immediately) take any photos of their little heads peeking up from a field holding up produce in an unusually excited manner. And then I try to zone out the complaints and demands to leave and appreciate the hell out of wherever I am.  And this does not at all deter me from planning future farm trips.  They will appreciate this one day, whether they want to or not.

We're moving fast and furious into Fall and people in the DC area love picking apples, pumpkins, and other Fall fruits and vegetables.  We also pick the rest of the year, but this time of year is different.  The leaves are changing color, Halloween is a hop-skip away, and there is something exciting about picking up a pumpkin.

A few weekends ago, we went to Larriland Farm in Woodbine, Maryland.  We usually go to Homestead or Butler's, but I'm going through a must-try-new-things craze.  So, we ventured out 45 minutes and it was beautiful out there:  fresh air, sky visible everywhere above you, and gorgeous produce.  And the symmetry!  Don't even get me started on the symmetry.  I say that slightly in jest, but I do love looking at perfectly lined trees, flowers, whatever. Completely, utterly peaceful.

It's the end of tomato season and Larriland was trying to clear the tomato fields, which were 25% off and already reasonably priced.  The bags they provided could hold 20 pounds of tomatoes.  That's right: 20 pounds of tomatoes.  Look, I love tomatoes but 20 pounds?  Who needs 20 pounds of tomatoes?  Well, it turns out a lot of people do.  People were walking off the field carrying 60 pounds or more of tomatoes.

One woman told me she and her husband love fresh tomato juice and make loads of it with garlic, pepper, salt, and cayenne.  They run the tomatoes through a mill until it's smooth and perfect -- a long, involved process but that's how much they love fresh tomato juice.

And these tomatoes were not like grocery store tomatoes:  tomatoes at large grocery stores (I have found) lack any smell.  But these tomatoes actually smelled like tomatoes.  

It was around this time that the novelty of walking through a farm field and finding beautiful tomatoes wore thin with the kids.  It was a warm day and my daughter said she was getting a fever (clearly due to our negligence) and it had gotten so high that she was sweating down her face and back.  Her little brother followed suit and said he too was raging with fever.  I asked them to take a seat under the shade of a big tree and wait until we were done, at which time we would go to the hospital to deal with their fevers.  Whining, followed by negotiating, followed by more whining.  Then they had to go to the bathroom.  And then we left.

Larriland had a pick-your-own-flower field as well, but that's going to have to wait until next time, when I will have bribes a fun plan in place to keep the kids focused longer.

So, what have we done with our 20 pounds of tomatoes?  Eric has canned some which then resulted in the most yummy pasta sauce; we gave some to my mom; I have used them in countless sandwiches, and in various curries.  Next tomato season I will head to the tomato fields early and often.

Are you itching to go pick your own produce, especially with the prospect of running into my family?  Do a search for "pick your own farms" and you'll find farms near and far.

Happy eating all!

Yesterday's post on dressing up a turkey burger to taste like a lamb burger is HERE.

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