Last week a bunch of children (including mine) had the opportunity to head to Eckerton Hill Farm in Lenhartsville to get a tour and be a part of a “Children’s Garden” that they will be starting. Eckerton is where we have our CSA share and at this point I would say that Stefanie and the other farmers there may be some of my favorite people!
At one point Stef and I were chatting and we came up with the idea of introducing children to the farm through the planting of a children’s garden. You see, selfishly, I want my kids to be a part of it. I want them to see what it is like to consume local food, see where their food comes from, and see the work that goes into nurturing and harvesting that food. I think it is important for children to be exposed to this.
So, I invited some friends and their children and they came up to Eckerton last week. Stef talked to everyone about the process of growing some of the vegetables. The kids got to see the flats of veggies that were ready to be transplanted to the fields.
They then went on a tour of the greenhouse. Stef talked to them about why a greenhouse is needed and how it works. They each got to pick their own carrot. The kids asked questions. They interacted. Their little faces just lit up.
We went to the barn where each child got a container and filled it with soil, all on their own. There was no worry of getting dirty or spilling it (though they did plenty of that!). They placed a handful of pea seeds on top of the soil and listened carefully as Stef walked them through the process of planting the seeds.
After topping it off with soil it was back to the greenhouse where they would live until they germinated and their newly planted pea seeds were watered. They watched Jessie and Lupe transplant tomato plants and were in awe of the fact that these little seedlings would produce those bright red (not understanding the idea of an heirloom just yet) tomatoes.
The next part was one of their favorites as Tyler graciously introduced them to the animals. The kids fed the goats radishes being careful not to get their fingers too close to Stansbury and Liam’s mouths. After the entire bucket was devoured, and questions about milk and goats and cows were answered, they headed off to see the chicken coup where Tyler, like the sport that he is, tackled gracefully the question of how chickens lay eggs. Ha!
By that point, the kids’ appetites were worked up and we went into the farm kitchen for some chatting and eating. There were 15 kids and every.single.one of them devoured the carrot that they had picked. There were no complaints, no whining, no asking for something different. It was a simple carrot and they loved it. To me, that says something. What it says is: give your child healthy choices, incorporate them, teach them about these options and they will grow to love them better than some of the alternatives.
We are lucky that we have found a place that feels like home to us. Eckerton strives to incorporate their customers like members of the family. For that they are special. There are farms like this elsewhere, you just need to reach out, build relationships, connect, and find one. Eckerton did not come to me, I came to them. I had the desire to have this in my life for me and for my family and so I sought it out. You can too.