This weekend I took my kids to Springs Farm to pick our own strawberries. This has been our tradition each spring since we’ve lived in Fort Mill. Why would we go out into the hot sun, spend hours plucking strawberries off of the vine, getting dirty in the process when we can go to the grocery store and easily pick up a pint?
Here are the top five benefits to picking your own produce:
- Instill Healthy Habits – Research show that when children are involved in food preparation, including growing, picking, preparing and cooking, they are more likely to eat healthier foods. A study published in ScienceDaily found that children who grew up eating fresh-from-the-garden produce were more likely to prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables.
- Burn Calories – The process of picking your own berries is great exercise! We spent an hour combing the fields finding the biggest, juiciest, brightest berries. We burned approximately 270 calories in the process, which earned us our bowl of strawberry ice cream made with the fresh berries! Check out this article on Livestrong about the calories burned through gardening.
- Science Lesson – Harvesting fruit teaches children that food doesn’t come from the grocery store, restaurant or fast food window. Picking your own produce sets the stage for having a conversation about how food grows and is a wonderful science lesson.
- Save Money – We paid only $9.00 for an entire gallon of pick-your-own strawberries. The same farm sold pre-picked berries for $15 and buying just a small container in the grocery store costs $4 for a small pint! By cutting out the middle man and going straight to the source, budget conscious families can save money.
- Memories – Spending quality time with your children, doing an activity you both love, will create loving, fond memories for years to come. Even if they complain about it or fight the entire time now (your kids are probably better behaved then mine. Mine decided to have a throw down in the middle of our beautiful day of picking strawberries. Check out the picture of my daughter hitting my son with the fruit basket. I took this picture so they can see how ridiculous they look when they fight) they will look back at these moments fondly……and the years pass too quickly.
There are so many ways to enjoy strawberries, including just straight from the vine, but I thought I would share a savory strawberry recipe with you today for Spinach Strawberry Salad. Spinach and strawberries go hand-in-hand. You’ll be surprised that kids actually like the mild taste of spinach and this antioxidant filled salad is a great way for kids to get their fruit, veggies and healthy fats all in one!
- 1 bag of baby spinach (10 oz)
- 1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
- In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.