Growing up in rural North Carolina, I spent summers at my great-grandparents' farm. Weeding the garden was a family affair, and some of my best memories are of sitting on the wraparound porch shucking corn or snapping peas, listening to the old-timers talk about the "old days." That early exposure to farm life led to a healthy respect for food and animals as an adult—and it's something I strive to instill in my own son (only now I'm the old-timer).
These days, connecting with the land isn't quite as easy as it used to be. That's why I was thrilled to learn about a fun, unique opportunity for families to connect with their roots. In late July, Zephyros Farm and Garden in Paonia will host its first farm immersion camp. Kids will engage in hands-on activities like milking goats, collecting eggs, feeding the animals, and helping plant the fall harvest. Adults will have a separate (optional) curriculum on greenhouse growing, where you'll learn everything from construction to planting to growing throughout the cold Colorado winter (mustard greens in February? Yep, it's possible.) Participants will work together to harvest and prepare meals, which will be enjoyed at a table overlooking the farm. You can't get closer to a farm-to-table experience than this.
Don't worry, the week won't be all work and no play: Owner Don Lareau has built in plenty of free time to hang with the kids, read a book, swim in the pond, or just soak up some sun. "My goal is to get people in touch with where their food comes from in a relaxed environment that fosters learning and fun. Families will learn that they can produce a lot of what they eat, and will learn to cook things they may never have had before. Kids will learn where their food comes from, whether it is a carrot out of the ground or milk out of a goat," says Lareau.
The Deets: The camp takes place July 25–29. $495 for adults; $395 for kids (ages three and under are free). All meals are included. Reserve your spot with a $100 deposit, but hurry: Lareau only has about 30 slots left, though he's willing to add another session depending on response. More info here.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock