As summer comes to a close, make sure your bucket list includes a visit with your family to a farm and learn more about the food you eat. Plan some family time with both your children and your parents. Share stories about your parent’s childhood memories of farm life and make some memories with your own children on the farm. Below are some options.
1-Stop at a road-side stand and select some fresh vegetables for your dinner. Ask the farmer how the vegetables were grown and if you can pick your own. Set up a time to pick and come prepared with a bucket. Many you-pick-ems or pick-your-own operations offer fruit like blueberries and peaches for picking. No road-side stands near you, then go online at www.la.foodmarketmaker.com/ or www.pickyourown.org to find one nearby.
2-Travel to a farmers market and marvel at the many things sold under one roof. Go from booth to booth checking the selection and then decide on a meal plan that includes some vegetables “new” to you and your family. Be adventuresome, look online for recipes or ask your parents and grandparents for assistance. Make preparation a family affair. Involve the whole family in the process of prepping and cooking to ensure that everyone will taste this new vegetable once it’s placed on the table.
If you are up for a challenge, try canning or freezing some of the produce you find in the farmers market or roadside stand. Information on how to can and freeze is available through your local LSU AgCenter parish office or online at www.lsuagcenter.com search for food preservation and food safety.
3-Visit a local agritourism operation and learn more about agriculture. For ideas go to www.la.foodmarketmaker.com/ and click on tourism to find operations in your area. In Arcadia, PaPa Simpson’s is a good choice to learn about farm animals and horticulture. In Start, located minutes from Monroe, try Curry Farms. They have a goat walk and entertainment areas dispersed throughout the farms such as pumpkin patches and Christmas trees. Although, the pumpkin patch is not ready yet, it’s a great time to see the early stages of pumpkin growth and book your visit in the fall.
4- Locate a vineyard and learn how wine is made. Landry Vineyards in West Monroe offers a tour of their tasting room and vineyards. Throughout the year they also offer entertainment in the evenings. These special entertainment packages offer a walk in the vineyards, food, drink and music. This event can be for the whole family or a parent’s night out.
5-Learn how to ride a horse before the end of summer. Collins Natural Horsemanship in Dubach offers riding lessons, camps and summer events.
Any of these family ideas in your bucket list can end your summer in a memorable way. Take notes and return to any of these operations in the fall for more fun.
For more information on agritourism contact Dora Ann Hatch, agritourism coordinator for the LSU AgCenter.