Posted on July 22, 2014 at 6:00 am
There are many things to love about Green Bluff. There’s the fresh produce you can either pick yourself or buy freshly harvested, beautiful scenery, and a variety of fun products you can buy such as lavender, jams, pies, and even gift shop items at some farms. With about 50 independent farms and vendors participating, you could spend all day on the Bluff and not see all there is to see.
Going on the Green Bluff Growers website ahead of time is a great way to narrow down your choices. However, when I went to look for which farms might specifically appeal to kids, I found I had to go into each grower’s site to get information. Now if you visit anytime during a festival, you can hardly turn around without seeing some fun activity geared toward the littlest farm enthusiasts. But sometimes my family prefers to visit when there isn’t a big festival going on. The slower pace and lack of crowds makes for a more relaxing, less stressful visit.
While the pony and tractor rides, mazes, and other festival entertainments are not available during these times, we see this as a bonus, as well as a money saver. Over several years of visiting Green Bluff with our kids we’ve found some great farms that have a little extra fun for the kids even when a festival is not going on. So, if you are hoping for something to keep your kids occupied beyond the excitement of picking their own fruit (and eating more than they put in the bucket), here are a few suggestions of places to check out:
Hidden Acres has a small petting zoo that my kids get a kick out of. There’s a pig, a couple of Shetland sheep that come running up for attention, chickens and rabbits. While these might not be exciting for bigger kids or those who have their own pets at home, my kids love any chance they can get to watch and pet animals.
High Country Orchard has two swing sets available for kids to play on. My kids enjoy having some time to stop and play between picking. They also serve lunch there with lots of kid-friendly options. Having a chance to sit down on their deck with a delicious drink where I can keep an eye on my kids while they play is a huge bonus.
Siemers goes all out during the fall festival at Green Bluff, but is low-key during the summer. During Strawberry season they do offer free wagon rides to and from the patch, and when they are selling out of patch #2 they open up “Fort Siemers Playhouse.”
I have a soft spot in my heart for Hansen’s Orchard. We’ve been there enough times we’ve gotten to know the owners a little bit and they are so kind and welcoming. They have created a small play area that my kids really enjoy. Even though most of what is provided isn’t anything novel, my kids enjoy the plastic play houses, playing in the sand, and the horse swing made out of an old tire. My kids also enjoy their two gentle, friendly dogs and trips out to the fruit in flat bottomed, four wheeled wagons that are sturdy and kid-friendly.
I look forward to several trips to Green Bluff this summer, both to stock up on fresh produce that can’t be beat, and to have a relaxing day enjoying the outdoors with my kids. We will definitely stop at several of these farms so my kids can enjoy a little break from all their hard work picking (eating) fruit, and mommy and daddy can get a little rest as well. What are your favorite places to visit at Green Bluff?
Have you found any kid-friendly gems that I’ve missed? Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear about my new favorite farm…