Pennsylvania farm markets provide educational opportunities
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, if you’re looking for something that’s both fun and educational to do with the child in your life, look no further than a Pennsylvania farm market.
“Pennsylvania is so fortunate to have such a variety of farm markets,” said Karin Rodriguez, executive director for the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program. “And many of them provide educational programming for kids.”
A quick click to their website, www.pennsylvaniaapples.org, allows consumers to find farm markets that feature fresh apples by geographic location. “Parents can now use our website to help plan a field trip to a Pennsylvania farm market,” said Rodriguez. “They can see where the market is located and what apple varieties are in season. Many of the markets have Web links to make it easy to find their hours and calendar of events.”
In addition, the website has many free educational activities that can be downloaded. There are apple-inspired lessons in science, math, reading, writing, and geography for kids in kindergarten through grade five; and there are coloring pages, word searches and mazes. After learning about apples at home – how and where they grow and the different varieties – a field trip to a local farm market can help bring that information to life. Talking with the growers adds a new perspective to growing apples and life on the farm, and kids have the opportunity to see and taste many different varieties of apples. “Some markets even offer wagon rides through the orchards,” said Rodriguez.
Visiting a farm market is an activity that’s fun for the entire family.
Many Pennsylvania farm markets are open year round, but most of the markets provide the largest selection of produce and offer the most activities during the summer and fall months. As cooler weather approaches, it’s the state’s apple crop that takes center stage. Pennsylvania apple growers produce approximately 440 million pounds of apples each year, making Pennsylvania the fourth largest apple-producing state in the country. From popular varieties like Gala, HoneycrispTM, and Red Delicious; to heirloom varieties like Northern Spy, Winesap and Smokehouse; to brand new varieties that are just being introduced to consumers in select locations; Pennsylvania’s farm markets provide a lot of options.
Just as the state of Pennsylvania is diverse in terms of people and geography, so are the farm markets. In addition to educational programs and rides through the orchard, visits to local farm markets could include petting zoos, free concerts, and more. “Some of our larger farm markets are family destinations – where there are activities that take place throughout the day,” said Rodriguez. “And then there are the smaller markets and road side stands; they usually only sell what they grow on the farm. But when you visit a farm market, big or small, you can meet and talk with the growers, sample new apple varieties, or even take home an old family recipe.”
Here are some quick and easy snack ideas using apples from the farm market.
- Cover apple slices with peanut butter or caramel.
- Top crackers and cheese with an apple slice.
- Melt a piece of cheese on an apple slice.
- Mix an apple with your favorite yogurt and top with granola.
- Mix apples with peanut butter or cream cheese and spread on a celery stick.
- Top your favorite cereal with chopped apples.
- Mix equal parts of marshmallow cream and cream cheese in a bowl and dip apple slices in the mixture.
- Cut apple into four or six wedges. Wash and pat dry. Spread peanut butter on each wedge and roll in rice crispy cereal or graham cracker crumbs, or both.
For recipes that use apples and other fresh produce, or to learn more about Pennsylvania apples, go to www.pennsylvaniaapples.org.
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The Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program is a commodity marketing program established by the Commodity Marketing Act of 1968. The program is funded by apple growers and governed by a Board of Directors. The Board is composed of growers from various regions of the state and a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The website is www.pennsylvaniaapples.org.
The farm markets listed on the website represent apple producers who are members of the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program. For additional farm market locations in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Market Search.