Connecting field to fork at our local strawberry u-pick

As frequent Simple Bites readers will know, we teach our kids about where their food comes from, and try to harvest nature’s bounty through u-picks as often as we can.  Aimee and I were married in an apple orchard, and so apple picking has been an annual tradition.

Strawberry season, however, is much, much shorter, and so this past Monday was the first time our family of five has gone strawberry picking since Clara has joined us.  Four of us absolutely love these seasonal, sweet berries, and the other one tolerated the outing by having races up and down the pathway (he’s not a berry believer).

Strawberry u-pick on www.simplebites.net

It was a deliciously cool and overcast summer morning and we hopped on the trailer for the requisite tractor ride out to the field.  Despite our boys’ need to run, run, run, we were told in no uncertain terms by several of the staff that the field was simply too far to ever imagine walking for adults, let alone children.  Oh well.  It was a nice tractor ride.

Although imported strawberries have been in stores for over a month, the unseasonally cool summer means the local berries are only just starting to ripen, and we were ready for them.

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Six Reasons to Visit a Country Fair with the Family

Last weekend our family packed a picnic and escaped to the country for our annual visit to a fall fair. We go every year as a family for many reasons – corn dogs, arcades and cotton candy not among them – rather we use the fair as an opportunity to further our family food culture.

Since we know that the connection between source and food is integral to encouraging good eating habits, we make an effort to visit local farms, but a trip to the local country fair is another way to make that link between field and fork.

The fall fair is so much more than fair rides and chicken-fried bacon; in fact, we find that when the line-ups to the arcades and canteens stretch for yards, the barns are always cool, quiet and spacious. Perfect for resting on a bale of hay and watching the milking process on some of the prettiest cows you’ve ever seen.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for our outing and I kept the camera handy to capture the day’s events. Today’s post is going to be a little different, almost like a photo essay showing highlights from our day. I hope these six reasons inspire you to seek out a country fair in your area!

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Q&A: Garden, Market or CSA – How will you source summer produce?

It is snowing as I write today, but that hasn’t stopped me from gazing out on our future garden spot and visualizing the raised beds full of lettuce, zucchini, herbs and tomatoes. Winter still has many weeks to rage and blow before it gives way to spring, however, one can’t help but think about pending arrival of fresh greens and tender fruits.

March is a good time to start making plans for how you will source your summer produce. If you live in the city, now is the time to sign up for a  spot in the community gardens. If you are more rural, you should be putting in a seed order right about now. Not into gardening, but want farm fresh vegetables? Then perhaps you should be calling around and getting your name on a list for a CSA basket.

Seven ways to source your summer produce

The first crisp asparagus spears and strong rhubarb shoots will be poking up through the ground before you know it. Here are seven ways to source your summer produce that don’t involve a shopping cart and a supermarket. Which do you plan to use come spring?
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