1) Barefoot Farms- Located just north of Dover in the northern part of York County, Barefoot Farms is a beautiful place to go to pick-your-own strawberries, raspberries, and pumpkins. It is owned by the sweetest, Christian people and we have taken Bugaboo (and now Doodle) since she was a baby. I want my children to realize that food doesn't just magically appear at the grocery store, but that it grows from the ground. I want my kids to feel the dirt between their toes and have seeds between their teeth and stains on their faces because they ate more berries than they picked! I want those smiling pictures of them holding the pumpkin that is bigger than they are! Last summer they opened a sandwich and ice cream shop so now you can have fresh raspberry and strawberry sundaes after picking.
2) Eastern Market- Located just off of Market Street in East York and only open on Fridays, Eastern Market is one of my favorite locations to take my girls. The first few times I went, I wore Doodle in the Ergo and pushed Bugaboo in the stroller. Bug quickly realized, however, that she wanted to partake in choosing fresh produce so she started walking next to me holding on to her station (rings linked together hanging off of the stroller- idea taken from Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic). Her favorite things to purchase are "big, juicy wa-der-mel-on, kiwis, and mangoes." We also splurge on a special treat on the mornings we go to market and share pretzel dogs and a fresh squeezed lemonade for lunch. I have tried to start encouraging Bug to pick out a "treat" and have it be fresh fruit that I know was grown not far from where we're purchasing it.
3) Flinchbaugh's Orchard and Farm Market- (Are you noticing a trend here?) I just discovered the joy of Flinchbaugh's this summer. I had driven by it occasionally on the way to visit friends who lived out towards Wrightsville, and yes, it's a 25 minute drive from my house, but I love the friendly staff and the fact that I can see the peach trees from the parking lot, knowing my peaches are nice and fresh. They offer peach picking, apple picking, and pumpkin picking and also tours for a small fee. They have a Summer Fest in July and a Fall Fest in October and we had a lot of fun. Bug LOVES farms and so she enjoyed the wagon ride. I love that my daughter is asking to go to "Finchbaugh Farm Makit" on her own. She especially enjoys the yellow variety of watermelon we have purchased there. Yes, it is a little pricier than some of the produce that is sold in the grocery store, but to me the price it worth it to know it hasn't been pesticided to death, I know where it's coming from, and I'm supporting the "little man" by buying locally!
4) Perrydell Farms- This is Bug's all-time favorite place to visit. I'm not sure where it came from, but Bugaboo has an obsession with cows. She LOVES them! At Perrydell Farms, you can visit with the calves up close in their hutches- pet them, get slobbered on by them, take in their lovely odor, er, aroma. The best part in Bug's mind, though, is getting to feed the calves. If you visit Perrydell around 4:00 pm, you can help to bottlefeed the calves. You can also watch the "big cows" being milked in the milking parlor. They're behind a glass window, but when they exit it's like you can reach out and touch them. We took a tour with our mom's group this summer and got to pet the calves, see the cows, watch the bottling process, walk in the refrigerator, and have chocolate milk and cookies. Bug enjoys picking out a flavored milk or her own individual-sized jug of white milk to take home with us. They also have delicious ice cream. I don't know about you, but I like knowing that my milk ran through some pipes 100 yards away, was bottled, and sold to me. Yum! We go to "visit the cows" at least once a week...and Bug has several pictures of cows in her bedroom. I've got to find some friends who will let us borrow cows and join 4-H.
5) York County Library Summer Reading Program and GO York! Letterboxing Program-
Whoever came up with the idea to combine reading with outdoor activity was a genius. We live in the days of childhood obesity and children thinking that their food comes from McDonald's (hence all of my farm market/fresh food likes above). So the York County Library decided to team up with GO York! and offer a reading program combined with letterboxing activities to be found throughout 30 different parks in York County. This year the theme was Dream Big Read! and Go and Search the Galaxy! We have had a great time following the clues and finding "rubbings" and it has given us the opportunity to discover wonderful parks and playgrounds throughout areas of the county that I wouldn't otherwise have familiarized myself with. We have completed 20 out of 30 rubbings and read our 800 minutes and I'm pretty proud of Bug for all of her efforts (and hey, I'm just a little proud of myself for my efforts as well).