My 5-year old refuses to like vegetables. I believe he has made his mind up to hold fast to this position. I try not to make a power struggle out of it and instead load him up on fruits and berries, and sneak hidden pureed veggies into meals where I can. Out of nowhere last week he announces that he wants to turn our house into a farm and begins collecting the seeds of every fruit he gets. Couple this with the uncanny coincidence that over the weekend was a festival in the Capay Valley where many farms (organic or otherwise) are located. Did I think exploring farms would suddenly whet his appetite for broccoli? Fat chance, but if a change of heart were to occur it is most likely to happen where it is fun to explore new foods. Along those lines, I thought I could investigate how much fun you can have on a farm. Here are some excellent places I’d love to check out someday.
Stonewall Farm is a 130-acre nonprofit working farm and educational center whose mission is to connect people to the land and to the role of local agriculture in their lives. It is open, free of charge, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Visitors can see the barnyard animals or watch the cows being milked at 4:30 daily. Stonewall Farm operates an education center, a dairy herd, a maple-sugaring operation, greenhouses, grows organic vegetables, and is home to numerous chickens, sheep, rabbits and other barnyard animals. Summer camps are available for different age groups: 4&5, 6&7, 8&9, 10&11, 12&13, plus counselor-in-training for the older ones. The farm also offers one-day farm camps on days when school is closed and winter/spring camps that coincide with school breaks.
One week family camps are available at the end of August. Each family sleeps in a three-sided rustic cabin at Indian Brook or at nearby Tamarack Farm. Cabins are equipped with bunks for sleeping. For kids ages 4-10, day-camps are offered called “Barn Day Camps”. Kids ages 9-14 can choose between camps with different focuses. For example, one camp session alternates between time in camp and camping trips of 3-7 days. Another camp session teaches skills in areas of boating, barn and gardening, outdoor living, and arts. The essence of Farm & Wilderness can be found in the Quaker values of simplicity, honesty, self-reliance and respect for all persons.
PFC is located on 500 acres of the coastal redwoods of Sonoma county. You can sign your kid(s) up for a 3 1/2 week session living in a canvas tent with one other camper, or choose a Family Camp option where adults and kids spend either one weekend or one week at camp. Chores are assigned for morning and evening, but the rest of the day is open for your choice of many activities. These include farm related activities such as sheep shearing or building a play-pen for the goats or more campish activities like horse-back riding, hiking, sports, kayaking, fishing, tide-pooling, arts and crafts or dramatic arts. They have a YouTube site where folks have uploaded short videos from their vacation at Plantation Farm Camp.
Families can stay on this Mendocino County farm for a full week or a 4-day weekend. The program combines the study of nature with the experience of life on a farm. Chores are always part of the day, as are special projects like grinding corn and making cornbread, learning to use a two-person saw, or digging for native soaproot. Additional activities include berry picking, egg gathering, cow milking, tending the organic garden, harvesting vegetables for the kitchen, and making snacks. Families can explore at their own pace, spending an afternoon hiking over wooded slopes, discovering swimming holes, or simply swinging in the hammocks under the fir, madrone, and oak trees. Cabins along the Eel River sleep up to 10, with electricity, cold water and shared baths.
The mission at Cure Organic Farm is to expose 6-9 year old children to where their food comes from and to educate them about the ecology of a diversified small farm. Kids are taught the basics of caring for farm animals, organic gardening, and experience the satisfaction of working together to produce good food. Activities include all aspects of gardening, farm animal chores, arts and crafts (using natural products like honeycomb or sheep’s wool), stories and songs. Camp sessions are Monday through Thursday from 9am – 3pm.
This is a bed and breakfast on a farm where younger children can do chores and complete a picture worksheet; older children can also do chores and learn with the “Official Farm Kid Workbook.” The guest rooms and suites are located in a cluster of restored historic farm buildings. All rooms and suites have en-suite bathrooms and are air-conditioned.
This post is part of the Mondays are for Dreaming series hosted by Mara at Mother of All Trips. Check out her site to hear more travel dreams.