One of my favorite memories of autumn is going apple picking with my family. I was so enthralled by all the hidden treasures hanging in the orchard. I loved tasting the different varieties of apples and deciding which was my favorite. I especially cherished the warm apple cider samples that the farm provided after we finished collecting our apples.

This time of year is the perfect opportunity to head to a local farm to pick your own produce of the season, whether it be apples, pears, pumpkins, squash or other produce where you live. By taking your children on a u-pick adventure, they will learn a tremendous amount about food and the environment, and you will build family memories that will certainly last.

Encourage Healthy Eating

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, with nearly one in three children currently considered overweight or obese. It is no surprise that much of this trend is due to children eating too much sugary junk food.

One of the best ways to get kids excited about eating healthier foods it to let them go out and touch and feel the fruits and vegetables for themselves. When you take your children to pick their own produce, you are exposing them to healthier options and making it fun for them to choose delicious whole foods.

The best part is that you can go home from the farm and spend quality time together in the kitchen creating tasty meals from the food you hand-picked yourselves. There are so many healthy kid-friendly recipes to discover, from smoothies to side dishes to snacks. When your children play this much of a role in gathering and preparing their food, it will have a huge impact on them and influence the food decisions they make in the future.

Spend Time Outdoors In Nature

After a hot summer, many of us look forward to the refreshing crisp air. Taking your kids to a u-pick farm is a great way to spend more time outside in nature as children can suffer from nature-deficit disorder. Between hectic schedules, safety concerns, and over-consumption of technology, children have less exposure and connection to nature.

Sadly, children spending less time outdoors has been linked to decreased appreciation of our environment, health problems including childhood obesity and vitamin D deficiency, diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates
of emotional illnesses like anxiety and depression (Last Child in the Woods, Louv, 2008).

By taking them on fun outdoorsy trips, we are giving them more opportunities to explore our natural environment. Being in nature is relaxing and inspiring. Your children will be in awe of the gorgeous scenery at the farm, from the leaves changing colors to the vivid fruit and vegetables growing.

Support Locally Grown Food

When you pick your own produce at a farm in your area, you are supporting your local community and protecting the environment. What special lessons to teach our children! You help farmers succeed by giving them business, ensuring that there will be farms in your community in the future. You are also continuing a special connection between grower and consumer.

When it comes to environmental protection, you are playing a role in reducing the distance that food travels to reach you, saving energy and resources. Local food also preserves genetic diversity because smaller local farms often grow many different varieties and rotate their crops to provide a long harvest season. Finally, local farms typically conserve fertile soil and clean water, ensuring a safe habitat for wildlife.

Additionally, locally grown food tastes better, is more nutritious, and stays fresh longer. It is picked at peak harvest time, transported shorter distances, and sold directly to consumers. The less time that passes between farm and table, the more nutrients remain. 

Teach Your Children To Appreciate Where Food Comes From

When your children pick food with their own hands, it gives them a special connection to farmers that they can’t experience at the grocery store.

They have a chance to meet the actual farmers that grow the food and learn about the role they play in food production. Encourage your children to ask the farmers questions about the seasons, the land, different produce being grown, and the specific work they do on a daily basis.  

Seasonal Produce

The best part of picking your own produce this fall is that you will be able to enjoy nature’s delicious treats as fresh as they come. When you eat the food that is grown locally in season, you save money, have access to more nutritious food, and reduce the impact on the environment.

Visiting a u-pick farm also gives you a chance to talk to your children about the changing seasons, cycles of nature, and where certain crops grow during the year. For example, if we want to eat blueberries in the middle of winter, they will have to come a long way using a lot of fuel. And once they arrive, they won’t last very long in the refrigerator and won’t taste as fresh as the berries we can pick locally during the summertime.  

As the air gets chilly where you live, I hope you will venture to your local u-pick farm to give your children the treat of a lifetime that they will look forward to each year as the seasons change.


Sandi Schwartz is an author, journalist and mother of two.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Austin Family Magazine

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this with your friends!