Forgive my gushing. It may not seem like a big deal to some of you guys who live in more rural or even just suburban areas, or have the means to visit them, but I'm a kid from Queens who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. I rarely get a chance to leave the city. And even if I do, my New York City neuroses often hold me back from taking that chance. I spent a lot of time on the bus today gripping the armrests hoping we wouldn't crash.
But that's why trips like this - and food programs bringing real, organic, fresh farm food to urban areas are so important. I'm lucky to be economically comfortable enough that I can browse the aisles at Whole Foods for fun new foods to play with, or buy fresh vegetables from farmers' markets to my heart's content (or my arms' strength) but so many families can't. Even that is not the same as having a visual and physical connection to my food sources. If more people had a link like that, I think they would appreciate real food as well as understand that eating a hot dog (or even an organic grass-fed steak) is not just eating any old thing; it is an animal.
So, this is probably preaching to the choir but, if you get the chance to "meet" your food source, be it an apple orchard or a dairy farm or a chicken, I would urge anyone to take it. Thanks again to Just Food, United Way, and Hearty Roots Farm. After all that gab, here are a lot of trigger-happy photos I snapped of the farm (and my meals along the way.)
Breakfast: overnight oats with chia, soaked goji berries, banana
Lunch in three parts, Amazing Grass bar, rice with sweet potato, lettuce, red pepper, and an apple
It was a cloudy day at times, but the rain held off and the temperature was beautiful. I did get a slight burn, though, because, well, I'm Irish.
Another baby goat!!
Swiss Chard, tomatoes
Dinosaur Kale! They look like palm trees!
Farmer and workers in the beets
Some beets we got to pick
Tomato picking in the greenhouse
And this drink is how I ended the night. After leaving Hearty Roots, the bus took us to some nearby orchards to pick our own berries, paid for by United Way, which was awesome (and thank you!) I didn't take photos in the fields because I was too busy staining my hands. This drink is muddled raspberries and blackberries, ice, gin, Framboise Lambic, and seltzer. Smooth sailing.
Have you guys ever done anything like this?? I've visited apple orchards and pumpkin fields on school trips before but this was totally different and less of a lark. I have ten times more appreciation for farmers' markets now - especially after one day in the sun with a burn and half an hour looking for less than half a pint of raspberries. Interactive learning like this is also a great way to get kids interested in eating their vegetables. Do it! Do it!