Before I had kids, one of the things that seemed weirdest things to me about parenting was how much time seemed to be devoted to teaching kids the sounds that farm animals makes. It’s not that important and they’ll probably eventually learn that a pig goes “oink” even if you don’t make it a point of emphasis, but for some reason it’s what like half of all board books are about. But kids are really into farms and farming, so it’s probably why we spend so much time talking about it–because it keeps them entertained.
We’ve taken our daughter to the farm before and she had a real affinity for it so when we saw that Stone Barns was having a harvest festival, we knew we had to go. Stone Barns is a non-profit agriculture center situated in just about the most beautiful countryside you can imagine (outside of Virginia, which we are partial to), that raises livestock and vegetables, which are then sold to Blue Hill restaurant and to the public at market.
We’d gone to Stone Barns in the spring for Mothers’ Day to see the lambs and chicks and had a great time. The Berkshire pigs which they raise in pens in the woods are especially impressive and made the biggest impression on our daughter. This time, we also had the chance to go on a hay ride and collect eggs, both of which were really magical for our daughter.
I think it’s important, when you have the opportunity, to let your kids see where their food comes from and what goes into raising it. Farm to table used to be a way of life, but now it is something of a luxury. The good news is small, sustainable farms are popping up all over the country, so get out and see if there are any in your area. Apple and pumpkin picking can be great educational activities for children of all ages.
If you’d like to see more pictures of our trip to Stone Barns we have them posted at Brooklyn Supper.