Fresh from the Farm

By Kate Riley September 13, 2010

Hello friends, how was your weekend?  Hope you enjoyed yourself and had some relaxing down time!  As for me, I can honestly say my weekend was one of the most productive ever ~ a trip to a U-pick apple farm, a new chandy installed in the kitchen, and the most exciting news. . . the carpet on the stairs is gone, baby, gone.  Oh, yeah. 

So I had a crazy idea on Saturday to load up four girls (age 6 and under) into my SUV and head on out to an apple/pear orchard in nearby Sebastopol for a picking adventure. 

  pears 1


I think kids who grow up on a farm truly are at an advantage compared to city kids. They learn all about hard work, tilling the soil, caring for plants, trees, and animals. 

My suburbanite kids certainly do not live on a farm, so I think it’s important to give them farm adventures whenever possible, so they learn from a young age where food really comes from.  

  girl with apple


There was no “I’m bored” or “Let’s go home and watch Sponge Bob”.  Just genuine adventurous attitudes, down home fun, apples picked, and memories made. 

  girls in orchard

 girls picking apples


Gabriel Farm in Sebastopol is one of the few U-pick apple farms in the area that allows its guests to meander their orchards and select the ripest fruit. 


gabriel farm collage


We brought home several varieties, including the Niitaka Asian Pear and some McIntosh apples, all organic.    

 apple farm pears and apples


We whipped up a sweet treat from our freshly picked fruit ~ caramel apples on a stick!


caramel apples for kids


Like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, fall just isn’t fall without ‘em.   


What’s your favorite memory spent on a farm?




  1. What fun! I grew up on Long Island until I was 10, and each fall we would make the trip to one of the apple orchards in the area…loved picking fresh apples and the cider was amazing! We’d also go to the local pumpkin farm a few weeks before Halloween too.

  2. Looks like a wonderful day! My best memories on a farm are spending time at my grandfather’s farm with cousins, running all over the place exploring. We did manage to find quite a bit of trouble to get into, half the fun of course! Janell

  3. Sounds like great fun!!
    We have an apple & peach orchard ( a few plum & pear trees on the side) & I would love to just
    go up there and have fun picking!!
    Lol…well usually I do my hubby does all the hard work!!!

  4. Oh, this time of the year is all about apple picking. I just love going every year. SUCH FUN! My heart about broke when my girls told me they went to the farm apple picking WITHOUT me this weekend. (But I guess I can’t complain since I was at the beach, but still…).
    Thanks for sharing your sweet girlie date.

  5. Oh, have you been to Apple Hill? It’s about an hour east from us, and it is sooooo fun! You can pick apples, berries, pumpkins, Christmas trees…or drink wine…and it’s gorgeous. I’ve been going since I was a little one and now I bring my gaggle at least twice per year :)

  6. Growing up in Washington state my parents would take us to a working dairy farm. You could smell the cows from miles and miles away :) My sisters and I would hold our noses and breathes the whole time we were there – aw memories…..
    ~ Ruthie

  7. Looks like fun! I grew up on a working dairy farm so I appreciate your comment about farm kids being at an advantage…not too many people think like that these days. Possibly my favorite memory is riding on the tractor with my dad doing various chores – feeding cows, bringing in hay, plowing fields.

  8. I have too many memories of going to the farm to work – I grew up in Washington and always had to go to orchards to pick apples, pears or cherries. I have never taken my kids picking because I never equated it with fun – such a sour duck I am, huh?

  9. We take took all 3 boys apple picking last year and had so much fun. Can’t wait for this year!! I think we have another month to wait up here in Michigan until the apples are ready! LOVE the pictures!

  10. That brings back memories of picking peaches with my grandfather. Loved being in the trees with fruit all around just waiting to be picked. Glad you had a great weekend.

  11. We live in nearby Novato and I’ll have to take my kids from the dairy farm we live on to the apple farm to pick apples. I think it’s great for all kids to experience all types of farms and learn how important farmers are to the world:)

  12. My Grandpa Chris was a retired farmer and by the time I cam along, he rented out the fields for planting corn and beans. But he and my grandma, along with an aunt and her three kids lived on the farm for most of my childhood. I loved visiting to the beaver damn, checking out the bees in their hives, climbing the bailer to the hayloft, teeter tottering on the cattle shoot, bumping our way out to the “dump” in the back of the pickup, racing our bikes and watching the dirt fly, and watching my boy cousins make the electric fence zap! The best part is that my mom and her brother still own the farm. Even though the beavers and the bees are not there, a new wildlife area has been planted that will draw both animals and the newest generation of grandchildren to the farm!

  13. We lived on a farm when i was little, it was very small, but oh so sweet. I actually went back there this past weekend, and cried…they had torn down the old house where I lived and all the smoke houses and my play house etc. I had such a wonderful time there growing up. I remember going out to play in the morning and not coming in till dark! One of my most vivid memories is of me and my mom climbing our back fence, behind the pigs pen, and going berry picking. We had a good time! There was a big stump back there that looked like praying hands…we would always comment on it. :) Sweet memories.
    Looks like you all had a wonderful time picking apples…. I’m taking my son very soon!
    HUGS to you

  14. You are such a fun mama! Looks like a great day. My only memory of apple picking involves my younger brother crying because he was too little to climb the trees with my sister and I. :s And it was hot.

  15. I used to stay with some family friends who had a farm, and I would wake up super early to collect eggs.

  16. Do you know what I’d do if I went to a farm where I could buy lavender. I’ve decided it is just something I can’t grow or buy fresh in Illinois. I love the Asian pears and I’ve never used real sticks for my caramel apples…so rustic looking. We have several orchard within driving distance, love to do that. The girls look darling.

  17. What a fun way to spend the day! Good for you-I think it is so important that kids really learn where their food comes from! Those caramel apples are very Martha Stewart-loved the twigs sticking out of them!

    I so miss apple picking. One of my favorite memories is picking apples with one of my girlfriends. We picked several varieties and then later made a pie with some of them. We enjoyed a hayride and ate some apples along the way (you were allowed to eat as many as you wanted while picking, the rest were weighed). I also love selecting a pumpkin from the patch. Here in FL, you literally drive to a patch of grass where pumpkins and gourds have been trucked in-not really the same thing. LOL.

    I LOVE asian pears-spotted that right away in your pictures.

  18. My grandparents owned a farm when I was growing up (now run by my uncle) and I loved spending a week with them during the summer. Grandma taught me her best recipes, I played with the newborn kittens, “helped” Grandpa with the cows, and ran all over the place with my cousins. When I was 10 or 11, my Grandpa let me drive the tractor- easily the highlight of the year!

  19. Looks like everyone had an amazing adventure!

    I lived with my family on a Dairy Farm until I was nearly 8 years old, without a doubt my favourite memories are those of my sister and I hand feeding the baby Calf’s that had either been regjected by their mothers or lost their mothers.

    Great to see your showing your family that the food we eat doesn’t come in plastic wrap from the supermarket!

  20. Where I grew up in VT, we had a dairy farm right in our back yard. When I was a teenager, one of the daughters was a friend & the way we spent summer days was doing the chores, mucking out the barn, feeding the cows, riding in the truck while the corn was cut, playing hide & seek in the hayloft and hanging out on her front porch!

    I still live in the area and we are certainly blessed to have an abundance of small farms & orchards. I could go apple picking every week-end for at least 2 months to a different orchard! We have a super-fabulous Farmers’ Market every week-end that continues into October. We have a long-established co-op right in town too. This past week-end the fall raspberries were in the market & farmstands, yum! One of our local chain grocery stores works with local farmers to bring their produce/product into the larger market.

    It’s time for apple pie Your caramel apples look scrumptious! Fall is my favorite time of the year!!!

  21. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book all about this! Picking apples, blueberries, strawberries, peaches…there is even a song. Now if only I could get my foot in the door with a publisher.

  22. I grew up on a hobby farm in Wisconsin. I think, right now, I miss the goats the most. We had a herd of them and every now and then, they’d manage to get loose and my siblings and I would have to go round them up as they’d run around in the field behind the barn.

    Oh, and the puppies! Curling up with a litter of puppies so little their eyes aren’t even open yet and listening to the little sounds that they make. They’re so cute!

    Can’t say I miss weeding the gardens or cleaning out pens or fighting off the chickens for eggs, though. It certainly wasn’t an easy childhood. But maybe that’s why I miss it so much sometimes? Now I’m thinking of having children soon and starting to wonder, do I want them to grow up in town or in the country? I haven’t decided yet.

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