October 2011 - HAND-PICKED VEGGIES
Unless you have a garden in your back yard, picking fruits and vegetables is likely done at your local grocery store. Many of you may have gone strawberry picking or apple picking but how many of you have had acres and acres of fresh fruits and vegetables at your fingertips to hand choose and hand pick?
Pulling fresh carrots out of the dirt was a new experience for my girls this year and watching their eyes when they pulled on what appeared to be a weed and orange carrots appeared, was priceless. Learning that brussel sprouts grow on the stalk of a big leafy plant was new for all of us. It took us a short while to figure out what each plant was, where the fruit or vegetable was actually growing on the plant, and how to pick it appropriately. We certainly appeared to be city folk to Garden Patch Farms in Homer Glen but the staff was very helpful and so interactive with the kids, the learning process was fun and entertaining. We spent hours in the open fields of tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, radishes, potatoes, peppers, melons, cabbage, beans, apples, pears, peaches, pumpkins, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries, cherries, asparagus, corn, squash, peas, onions, etc. We walked into the fields with an empty wagon and out of the fields with a wagon full of vitamins and minerals.
The owners Merna and Earl Hiller and their grandson, Tony, were patient and kind with our endless questions. They also provided corn to all the children to feed the chickens.
Back at home, we made homemade salsa, boiled cabbage, peeled carrots, washed berries and I have watched my girls eat more fruits and vegetables in the last few weeks than in the last year because they were involved in the picking process and excited about their new found knowledge. The farm is currently holding fall fun activities including bouncy houses, picking colored popping corn, pumpkins, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Garden Patch Farms located at 14154 W. 159th Street, Homer Glen, IL 60491. Phone is 708-301-7720. Website is www.gardenpatchfarms.com. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Check the website for U-Pick Seasons. Field charge is $5/person for ages 3 and older, plus the cost of your fresh picks. – Kristen Kucharski