By Heather Crivellone
I don’t think anyone can argue that one of the best things of summer is the abundance of fresh fruit. The sweet, juicy berries, yummy peaches and nectarines. Whether they are in fresh cobblers, home-made pies or just out of the fruit bowl- everyone loves sweet summer fruit! And a great way to get kids excited about fruit (other than the A-la-mode) is to get them involved in watching it grow and the fun of picking the fruit!
And if you didn’t know- June has been determined as “National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month” (if you don’t believe me- check out the list of “food months” at Wikipedia– we are also in the middle of “National Frozen Yogurt Month” as well). Luckily for us here in Northern California, we have plenty of “you-pick-em” orchards where we can take the kids to explore, learn and see where our food comes from.
With the beautiful spring-like weather we’ve been having it’s a perfect time to visit some of the local farms. Impossible Acres, located in Davis is a small family farm that has been growing a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 12 years. They are very kid-friendly and when we visited they handed us all baskets and told us we could “sample” as we pick. The kids had a blast running through the peach trees and “trying” the apricots. My daughter loves raspberries, so she filled her basket in no time and informed me that were making raspberry jelly that night!
Because it is a farm, don’t expect too many extra amenities… no real bathrooms, no frills, but some tables to picnic on and some of the tastiest fruit to pick and enjoy!
During the fall, Impossible Acres turns into a Pumpkin Patch and has farm animals, petting zoo and more…I’m sure we will be back for the autumn festivities! But as for now, we enjoyed the experience of picking the fresh fruit. Knowing where it comes from, how it’s grown and whose hands it was in makes for such a better experience and such a piece of mind when feeding your children.
There are many “U Pick-em” farms throughout the area and to locate others, check out http://www.pickyourown.org/CA.htm to find out locations and what types of produce are available. Currently at Impossible Acres you can get Ollalieberries, limited Raspberries, Peaches and Apricots. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 9am-6pm, and closed Monday and Tuesday.
If you decide to make the trip out to the farm with children here are a few tips: make sure the kids (and you) wear “real” shoes…my daughter refuses to wear shoes and even flip-flops drive her insane. Well, the dirt, thorns and bushes were enough to make her put on her “lace-up” shoes. Bring water and put on the sunscreen!!! We took a picnic and then headed out to one of the parks in Davis to enjoy lunch with the fresh berries we had picked. It was the perfect end to a wonderful summer morning!
And if you find that you have picked more peaches than you can consume, here is my absolute favorite Peach Bar Recipe (it’s always a hit at the summer picnics!). Enjoy!
Peach Crumb Bars
Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
For the Dough: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold 1 egg, lightly beaten
For the Filling: 5 cups diced or sliced peaches (about 7 peaches, peeled) 2 tablespoons lemon juice ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
2. For the Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan. Place the pan and the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
3. For the Filling: Place the diced (or sliced) peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the peaches and mix gently.
4. Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.