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Local Food, Family Style

In the Philadelphia region, there is no shortage of producers and farmers—this we know. But, many of us only enjoy the bounty of the region and don’t fully understand where and how it came to be.

That’s why local farmers, gardeners and homesteaders are opening their arms to Philadelphians and visitors in order to teach non-producers about the origins of their food.

At Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA, kids (and parents, too) can choose to pick an array of fresh produce: Apples, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, pumpkins, raspberries, strawberries. The farm even has a homemade ice cream shop to stop in after a long day of picking.

A strawberry hot-spot, Willow Creek Orchards, is located in Collegeville, PA. Starting in late May, visitors can pick their own strawberries on the vast, 138-acre farm. But there’s a twist—Willow Creek Orchards is Montgomery County’s first and only USDA-certified organic produce farm. You’re sure to experience a true locavore learning experience here!

For a more directed learning experience, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is filled with educational—and delicious—activities for the whole family. There are obstacle courses, corn mazes and wagon rides to get your legs pumping, and an educational center and hatchery for kids to learn about agriculture.

Fox Chase Farm is a working educational farm located in North East Philadelphia. Visitors are welcome during special events, like Sheep Shearing Day in April, where the process of shearing, cleaning and spinning wool is taught. Of course, there are tasty treats and fun games and prizes—Mom and Dad might even square dance!

And, if you’re not from the area (or you’d just like to escape the “city buzz”), farm stays are popping up everywhere. Visit Flint Hill Farm to live a day in the life of a farmer. Guests collect eggs, which then serve as breakfast, milk cows, feed horses, and eat the farm’s very own honey! Verdant View Farm even offers a special “Farmer’s Apprentice” program, in which guests take part in artisanal cheese making, butter churning and vegetable tending. You’ve got to work for your food here!

All of these hands-on experiences are great ways to teach and learn the important of local, healthy eating.