My girls can’t get enough of blueberries. I put them in muffins, pancakes, and serve them up straight from the package. They shovel them into their blue-stained mouths faster than I can wash and scatter them on their trays. I’m not sure if it’s their tart flavor or small pop-able size, but blueberries are a huge hit with the little people in my house. I know my girls will have a blast picking their own fruit straight from the blueberry bush this summer. There are a lot of great areas farms around New Haven County that offer pick your own blueberries. Check out our list of other berry farms from across the state.
Summer is a great time to pick berries on Long Island. Berry bushes are low to the ground, and the berries are small enough for little fingers to grasp. It's a great activity for kids of all ages. Berry picking makes the farm to table movement easy for kids to understand, as they get to participate in their own food harvesting. Late July is peak season for blueberries and raspberries. Blackberries ripen in August. Suffolk County is home to five of the best berry picking farms. Be sure to call the farms before heading out, to confirm picking hours and berry availability, as inventory sells quickly. Don't forget to also check out our Pick Your Own Guide for expanded coverage on fruit picking in the tri-state area.
Have you heard that Twinkies are coming back? It might be time to offset the barrage of non-food foods with a little delicious education. This summer, bring your kids over to HealthBarn USA, a fun farm that teaches children and grown-ups about nutritious food and how to live a healthier lifestyle. At the barn, children learn how to grow their own fruits and veggies and make the best choice at the supermarket or in a restaurant. Additionally, they learn how to prepare and cook their bounty, in a fun, hands-on way. Read on for all the details and an interview with HealthBarn USA founder, Stacey Antine.
From the Montclair Art Museum to the Prudential Center; from the Turtle Back Zoo to Eagle Rock Reservation, Essex County is an eclectic mix of entertainment, business and of course, good eats. From Portuguese to Italian, you’ll find myriad restaurant options throughout this northeast area of the garden state. Many of these local eateries source their vegetation, meats and dairy products from New Jersey farms hosted at daily Farmers Markets.
Don’t have a green thumb? Critters spoiling you attempts at a garden again this year? Join a CSA farm. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between a local farmer and the people who consume his/her fresh, often organic, produce. Members purchase a "share" of the farm's anticipated harvest. This partnership becomes a win/win situation to the CSA members by giving them the best quality, freshest, widest variety of locally grown produce while ensuring the survival of the farms by guaranteeing the farmer a fair return on his/her efforts. Members pay at the beginning of the season and the farmer delivers a weekly assortment of vegetables, herbs and sometimes fruit as they become available. Each of the farms runs a little differently, so check the websites and choose the program that best suits your family’s needs. And enjoy!
There is a gem nestled inside Essex County: Turtle Back Zoo. Part of the South Mountain Recreation Complex, TBZ is a lovely little zoo with a big commitment to wildlife education and conservation. With the added perk of being smack in the middle of a treetop obstacle course, an indoor skating rink and a mini golf course, the TBZ is an amazing day trip for anyone in Northern New Jersey and worth the trip for any family in the whole state. Read on for all the highlights!
Farm vacations are an increasingly popular getaway option for urban families looking for a back-to-nature experience. For children who’ve never been around farm animals, staying on a farm provides a firsthand way to learn about the animal world and connect with what they eat. Curious kids can gather eggs, watch cows be milked and pick fresh peaches off the tree. You are not required to work during your farm vacation, but most visitors find farm chores part of the fun.
You can spend a weekend on a farm in many parts of the country, but the local food movement has historic roots in the fertile Catskills, so it’s a natural spot to learn about the benefits of eating locally grown foods. Read on to find out about six places in the Catskills where you can stay on a farm for a sweet family vacation. Or, if you don't have time for a full weekend at a farm, you can also check this list of farms you can visit for a day in Westchester or see our Farms Guide for pick your own and other farm fun.
"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day."-- Dr. Seuss. Well, you're not making any more of a mess in MY house--my basement looks like a Disney Princess Island of Misfit toys. Even if Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, I'm still not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. Get out and explore some of the best indoor play spaces in Northwestern NJ--in other words, a place where your kids can make a mess and you don't need to clean it up!
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?