With all the recent scares about arsenic or lead in your child's apple juice, why not go to the source and make your own? Pack a picnic, and head for the country by car, train or bus to your nearest organic you-pick apple orchard. Not only will you have a great adventure in the country, but also your tot will learn that their fruit does indeed grow on trees - not in a box! Hurry up and get the last apples of the season. In some states you can still pick blueberries, peaches, figs, squash, and fall vegetables, too. To find the nearest organic or pesticide-free farm in your neighborhood visit PickYourOwn.org.
Tell a Tale on the Way to the Orchard
As you commute to your farm, entertain your tots with the story of Johnny Appleseed, a man who never hurt an animal and who planted apple trees all across the Midwest. Once you get home you can follow up your adventure with library books like Johnny Appleseed by Jane Yolen and art activities about Appleseed, a true organic farmer!
When you arrive at the orchard, a farm guide will give everyone a lesson in best picking methods. Remind your crew to look for firm, bruise-free fruits. Simply twist the apple and then pull. Encourage your kids to put the apples in your bag or basket gently to avoid bruising them. Most farms have a variety of apples available, so your kids will enjoy exploring the different colors and tastes.
Make it Fun and Educational
The fun doesn’t stop at picking the apples! Preschoolers can practice counting how many apples or fruits they’ve collected before weighing them on the scale. Then have your child count out how much you owe and you’ve got an interactive math lesson.
Enjoy Other Activities at the Orchard
Check to see what else is happening at your orchard when you go — you may find a hay ride, corn maze, or a leaf pile to jump in, which all make for a perfect celebration of the end of fall.
Eat Your Apples
Back at home you can eat your apples plain – we bet they’ll be extra juicy and delicious since you just plucked them from the tree – or bake easy apple crisp, make apple sauce or add one to your favorite fruit smoothie!