Fun on the apple farm (now thru November)

September 10, 2008

The Web site “Illinois Ag Fun” strikes me as something a marketer dreamed up — surely it wasn’t the slogan of anyone who’s ever lived on a farm!  However, for those of us who now live in the city and want to expose our kids to the places their food comes from, it is a valuable site.  Take, for example, the u-pick orchard listing for southwestern Illinois, with 14 farms within an hour’s drive from St. Louis.  The downside is that only one has a homepage of its own (Mills Apple Farm north of Highland).  Guess all those farmers are out having too much fun to get around to Web design!

Honeycrisp, our household’s favorite apple by far, is one of the early varieties, along with Jonathans, Earliblaze, Ginger Gold, Ozard Gold, Royal Gala and Jonagold. Call ahead to confirm that the orchard you’re visiting will have the varieties you want, and to find out what the picking hours are. You might also ask if there’s any festivals this fall — these tend to be a lot of laid-back fun, especially for kids — and, if not, whether there is food for sale other than apples. If there isn’t, you might want to pack a little lunch, because city kids can really work up an appetite out there picking. They, at least, thing farmwork is a whole lot of fun!

Here’s M. and one of the kids’ honorary grandmas, Nini, sharing a bag of their favorite vice, kettle corn, at an apple festival last September.

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