Fresh food makes all the difference in quality food. I am a food snob sometimes. It truly depends on my mood, but quality means fresh. Fresh means that it is locally grown. For my brother, that means he grew it in his front yard garden. He got the green thumb, not me. I recently l killed a cactus. Seriously, I overloved it, overwatered it. Sad. I tried succulents, but they died, too. I keep trying, but does that make me a plant murderer? I can raise a child and animals, but not a plant. So weird. I guess my children, furry and non, can push me away when I over-love. I do know where to get fresh produce! There are wonderful stores and markets in my town that supply us botanically challenged people with healthy food! Or, if you are as blessed as I am you can go over to your brother’s house and pick some of his fresh herbs or tomatoes. Don’t worry, my nephew told me it is ok.
Now, if you don’t have a brother who has a garden locally, I am sure you can find a farmer’s market or a u-pick around your town. Or at least, I hope you can. Here in Tallahassee, FL we are surrounded by farms with all sorts of produce! My parents have my nephew and niece on Saturday mornings and find fun things to do with them. Vivienne and I tag along many Saturdays, especially when it is going to be outside!Last Saturday morning my mom found a U-Pick strawberry patch. I love strawberries, so I was particularly excited. (They have been to a blueberry U-pick, but I am not really a blueberry fan. I know, call me crazy.) I met them at their house to follow them to the farm. Vivienne loves spending time with her cousins Benjamin who is 5 and Lucy who is 2. We ate breakfast and headed to the farm. My mom road with me and Viv and Dad braved Benjamin and Lucy. I realized Vivienne was quiet and looked back to see if she had fallen asleep. Nope, I had accidentally left the container of travel wipes next to her, so half of them had been ever so sneakily pulled out. I just laughed. One by one, my child was pulling wipes into the air. It was hilarious. My mom looked back and died laughing, too. Then Vivi laughed because she always laughs when everyone else is laughing. OK, back to the farm story. It turns out that we had driven back to my side of town! The farm was right down the road from my house, but I had no idea it was tucked away down that road. We piled out of our cars and made our way to the entrance. We look like we are herding cats the way our tiny humans roam around, but we eventually get there.
The woman at the entrance informs us that the strawberry fields are across the farm. Vivi walks with Lucy and Benjamin with me. He finds the one mud patch and deliberately steps on it. Then he declares that he can no longer where his crocs because they are muddy. I don’t quite understand how barefoot is better, but if he is comfortable that is fine by me. The farm is gorgeous. It is filled with a variety of colors from the yellow squash blossoms to the tall purple flowers. I love being on a farm, especially with Vivienne. I spent summers on a farm in Mississippi as a child. My Dad’s family grew up on land. I learned to drive on a tractor. I helped feed cattle and tend to corn. I want my child to understand where her food comes from. I want her to know the work it takes to grow that food and the love that it takes to make all the things we use.
I knew Vivi would like being there because she loves to be outside. We have been to several other farm events and activities as well. A local co-op grocery store, New Leaf Market, puts on what they call Farm Tours every year. We went to several stops and she loved it, as did I. It is perfect timing because it is right during fall. We went to get our pumpkin at one farm. They also had animals for the children to see. I was shocked when Vivienne wasn’t scared of anything. She walked up to the zebu with an inquisitive expression. She wasn’t a year old yet. I wasn’t sure of she would understand strawberry picking, but she caught right on. My dad held her and showed her what to do. Then he let her do it herself. Once she started, she couldn’t stop! She was a little red-handed maniac! I attempted to guide her into picking the ripe strawberries and she seemed to understand. She was concentrating so hard on picking her strawberries and getting them into the container. I was very proud of my 17 month old! Her cousins had just as much fun and filled there containers to the brim! She was also determined to carry her container the mile or so back to pay for it. Vivienne is not the most steady of walkers, even though she has walked since 8 months. She falls, a lot. We tried to pull a bait and switch with a container with less strawberries, but she would not be fooled! She wanted her container! I didn’t blame her, she worked hard to get them.
I should have taken pictures of how yummy the strawberries were! They were delicious, we ate them all before Travis had a chance to get back from shift. There is a huge difference in taste of local and fresh. I love that my child has a concept of farm to table now. I am unable to grow things myself, let’s be real, but I can take her to places that do grow things. I can teach her about the Earth and how it all works. I am not a hippie bohemian mom by any stretch of the imagination, but I do value the world God created. And not that I think hippie bohemian moms are bad, that’s just not me. I also think that takes way more dedication than I am willing to give. So I give a Saturday morning to take my child to see farms. I think I might try to grow some hardy (very hardy) things at the new house with help from others. I catch fish to go with vegetables. I think it is all about respecting the Earth, nature. Remembering that we need nature more than she needs us.
My brother has a blog. He is funny and very smart! I am not biased at all!