It is the end of Devam’s first year at school. Time for summer break, a 3 month period to explore, experience and enjoy something different besides school. We plan to visit several destinations in and around New York. Besides researching new destinations there are some that we look forward to visiting again and again.
I am listing our few favorite destinations:
1) Bear Mountain State Park
2) Norwalk, CT
- Stepping Stones Museum
- Maritime Aquarium
3) New Jersey, NJ
- Liberty Science Center
- Alstede Farms
These destinations are about one hour drive from New York. They are great destinations for age groups of 2-7 years old and perfect destinations for an entire family.
Note: When visiting farms it is most advisable to call them in advance to confirm their pick-your-own schedule and the best hours to visit the farm. I usually like to get to farms early in the morning and leave by noon.
Devam had just fallen asleep and as usual I was browsing through NetFlix for a good movie to watch. I came up on “Ingredients” – a documentary film about farmers and chefs that are creating a truly sustainable food system. The documentary caught my attention right away – it mentioned that for the first time in history, our children’s generation is expected to have a shorter lifespan than ours. The quality, taste and nutritional value of the food we eat has dropped sharply; we have lost sight of where our food comes from. Growing up in India there was a time when food tasted amazing (does not taste the same anymore), not because my mom was an exceptional cook, but because the vegetables tasted fantastic. I still remember the mozzarella tomato salad, the minestrone soup and the pasta I had in Florence, a simple meal had never tasted as good before. And the secret once again was in the produce, it was fresh, it tasted sweet and needed little seasoning. Unlike most super markets, local farmers markets are a great source of fresh foods.
When I meet with fellow moms, one common complaint is around tots not eating fresh vegetables and fruits. I have observed my nephew and nieces grow-up around me and now I am observing my own son. Tots imitate their parents in every sense including their eating habits. If we can include more fresh vegetables and fruits in our diet – it is likely to improve our health and we can be good role models for our tots. We can also promote awareness around fresh ingredients, we can take our tots to farmers market in the city, visit farms over the weekends to educate them on the source of fresh, good tasting and quality ingredients that make a healthy meal.
It is June and if you live in the Northeast it is the right time to farm-educate your tots (if you live elsewhere check the harvest schedule for your location). Berry picking season has just begun and there are several farms around New York – in every direction. Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester have sprawling acres of lush farms where you and your tots can have fun picking your own produce, petting live stock and enjoy the hay rides.
Find a farm around you on http://www.pickyourown.org/
Pick a sunny day and have lots of fresh, engaging and delicious visit at your local farm.
Note: It is advisable to call before hand to ensure that the farm is accepting visitors and to confirm timings of tot related activities at the farm. You can check reviews of farms online before your visit.