Farms, farms, farms
Farms, farms, farms, farms, farms we do adore. We are a family that loves going and spending a day at the farm. Sunshine, nature, vegetables, animals, what could be better? I have put together a short list of some of the farms that we have had the pleasure of visiting over the past year.
1. Urban Adamah (which means earth in Hebrew) is an urban farm located on 6th street in Berkeley. The farm practices sustainable agriculture, runs Summer camps for kids, has family farm days, and holds events like Jewish holidays there. Sprouts farm day is a chance for families to join the workers on the farm in helping with whatever needs to be taken care of. While my youngest spent time with the goats my older daughter and her friend helped used big shovels and picks to help dig holes for trees to be planted in. My girls also helped spread soil on a new garden bed. They were having so much fun gardening that they didn't even want to stop when it was snack time. We did eventually convene with everyone else under the community tent in the middle of the garden for snack time. The staff sang songs, read books, and everyone shared in a light healthy meal. A good time was had by all!
2. Tilden LIttle Farm: You can not live in Berkeley and not visit The Little Farm in your lifetime, it is truly a Berkeley landmark and staple! Free to the public, children get to run around feeding farm animals. Bring your own celery or lettuce (no carrots), and feed those animals to your hearts content- because their bellies never get full! There are big cows with long tongues, fat-bellied pigs, chickens, bunnies, ducks, and too many goats to count. The Little Farm is central to many exciting walking and hiking trails throughout Tilden, if you are in the mood for some extra vigorous walking. There is also a visitor's center to the left of the farm that has clean bathrooms and more to explore with it's walk-through cave. Also the visitor's center often have snakes that some rangers may take out that children can pet. In the Little farm parking lot there is a small playground that is a fun beginning or end to your farm trip. There are also lots of benches and grass in the parking lot to bring a picnic lunch too.
3. Animal Place: Animal Place is a farm sanctuary that rescues animals that were going to be slaughtered or are rescued from other bad situations. The farm houses the animals so they can live out their natural lives happy and free. Animal Place promotes veganism as a means to end animal suffering, save the planet, and take care of your body. First stop on the tour was the museum of horror, they showed us the cages, crates, and stalls that factory farm animals have to endure for their lives until they are brutally murdered for our dinner plates. But on to happier notes! After the museum we got to go see some happy live cows that were grazing in the grassy sunlit pastures. We got to pet Mortimer the cow who was a gentle giant. Next we walked by the sheep pasture. The goats moved in herds and one billy goat gruff in particular came over for pets. The pigs were so cute and big! We gave the pigs lots of belly rubs. The funnest part was feeding Wilbur the 700 pound pig! He loves apples and sweet potatoes. It was incredible to see him stuffing down his diet. He was so huge compared to my baby! We then ventured in to the chicken/ turkey barn and fed them lots of grapes.After the tour was over we sat and ate our vegan picnic on the shaded tables by the front of the farm. It was a great trip!
4. Hidden Villas: Hidden Villas Educational Farm in Los Altos is a little hidden gem among the mountains! Even though the farm is bustling with activity, the location in the mountains offers fresh air and tranquility. We went with a crew of eleven so we signed up for a private tour. Our tour guide Maggie was very nice and informative as she took us around the farm. She really tried to engage our youth by asking them questions and telling them fun facts about farm life. Maggie offered them a few treats grown by the farm like dried raisins, seeds, and dried persimmons. We got to visit and pet many farm animals. After our tour the children played in the fresh water creek that runs through the farm. It always amazes me how much children are perfectly happy to play in nature with nothing other then their friends and surroundings to play with. We often buy them all these toys, fill their world with TV, computers, phones, and distractions. When all we need to do is bring them back to the basics for them to have a good time. I love to see my children making up games in the grass, crossing the stream over a log, or climbing up a steep mountain hillside together. It builds character and makes them come together for team work. Nothing makes me happier then being outdoors with my family enjoying fresh air and nature and Hidden Villas was the perfect place to do this!
5. Ardenwood: Ardenwood Farms is a historic working farm and a really fun time if you like animals. The grounds to walk around on were beautiful! It was in September so the flowers were still in bloom but also leaves were starting to turn orange and fall from the trees. I had so much fun petting the different farm animals, who were more than happy to oblige my eagerly waiting hands. The goats and pigs both were really friendly and loved getting petted. My oldest daughter really liked petting the very fluffy sheep. I spent about thirty minutes petting the pigs alone, they were so cute and friendly. The grounds are open and free and perfect for a game of chase or hide and go seek. My daughter made friends with another family that had three girls and they all hit it off so well that they ended up playing a big game of tag on the lawn by the historic house. There is a fun mini train that you can ride from one end of the park to the other. Ardenwood hosts lots of seasonal events as well as they have some free days- check their website for details.
So many fun farms to check out in the Bay Area hope this list helps you and your family connect with the outdoors and some cute furry friends in a meaningful way!