Ask kids of today where milk comes from and you get some pretty interesting answers. A carton. A supermarket. A big tanker. And even those who correctly say ‘cow’ (or rice or soy or almond), can’t always explain how …they just know to say ‘cow’. So what’s the simplest answer to this modern day dilemma? SHOW them. A great place to ease your kids into regional foodie road trips is with a farm stay or visit to a berry farm. Come with my family on a virtual tour of Penny Royal Raspberry Farm. And explore one way to help your kids learn how to love fruit…and local produce.
A stone’s throw from city living but a world away for city kids, Pennyroyal is situated in the Otway’s behind Lorne, (Victoria, Australia) in a gorgeous patch of bush. Just after Christmas we arrived before the heat of the day and strolled the rows picking berries into our buckets. My Miss Seven-going-on-seventeen soon had the hang of stooping low among the plants to retrieve plump raspberries. Turning to show off her juice stained fingers and vibrant purply lips, I quickly explained that the order of proceedings was to pick, pay and THEN eat.
Master Spongebob Lover and Daddy soon needed the shade of the cafe (ahh good plunger coffee), but my little Miss made her mummy proud and didn’t take long to distinguish her Marion Berries from her Brambleberries.
And we chatted (boy did we chat) and s-l-o-w-e-d down and soaked up the sun (with our SPF 30 and hats on of course). And dreamed of the recipes we could make if only there were enough berries left by the time we got home. Berry kebabs? Maybe not Miss Seven-going-on-seventeen. But yes please to traditional Summer Pudding – great step-by-step recipe here by Inside Cuisine. Best of all we discussed lots of really educational nutrition things without even realising it.
Clever stuff we learnt by osmosis
- Berries don’t simply grow on trees!
- Seasonality affects the availabilty of local fresh produce.
- Vibrant coloured fruits are bursting with plant pigments or antioxidants.
- Ripeness depends on colour intensity and ‘squishiness’ and differs by species.
- Plants use natural protective mechanisms like thorns to keep birds away.
- Harvesting berries is labour intensive – hence the price – compared with say, apples.
- The more you pick, the more you pay as the price is per kilogram.
- Devonshire Tea = scones and jam and fresh cream…if you’re quick that is…..
So how about it? Have you planned your next regional road trip? Go on. Mark it in the calendar today. There’s plenty more to see including Olive Groves in this neck of the woods alone. Check out The Otway Harvest Trail.
And for a comprehensive guide to the wineries and farm gates of Victoria, Australia – Put Victoria on Your Table. You will love the changing seasonal menu and recipes on this site using local produce by top chefs including Teage Ezard.
So stay tuned for more adventures soon on my quest to grow two happy, healthy locavores. How about you? What goodies are lurking close to your place? I’d love to hear your ideas for family foodie adventures and experiences around your home town. Drop me a comment or idea below.