In the summer of 2008, children from Hennessey Elementary school piled out of the bus to go on a field trip to Riverhill farm as part of their summer education program. Kids got a tour of the strawberry fields, eating their way through the first part of the tour and ended up in the potato patch, digging up real potatoes. You can see Jo McProud showing those kids the farm fresh produce they helped harvest that day and some say this was the first official farm field trip that Sierra Harvest did as they were starting the farm to school program in Nevada County.
River Hill Farm is one of the most established and beautiful farms in our county and Sierra Harvest is thrilled to call Alan Haight and Jo McProud our Farm Partners. McProud loves having kids visit River Hill: “To us, the connection to food begins with the connection to place – the farm. Kids who come on a weekly basis develop a very personal relationship to the food and the farm. It changes the way they eat.”
Besides the usual contributions to the Farm to School program (farmer visits to the school, produce for the garden stand, and farm field trips), River Hill offers lots of other opportunities for kids (and their parents!) to visit the farm. They host a farm stand every Wednesday afternoon from 2-6pm, and they are expanding their popular U-Pick program this year from Wednesday afternoons to Sunday mornings. If you’ve ever spent a peaceful morning at River Hill plucking thornless blackberries from 8-foot high bushes amid buzzing bees and sunshine and happy children, you know what a delightful way this is to experience where your food comes from. McProud sometimes overhears children in the berry patch, educating adults about how to pick berries or where the best ones are hiding: “They start out quiet and shy and tentative, and after years of visiting, they are telling farm stand visitors what the vegetables are and how to cook them. When they have regular access to this environment, they become engaged. Curiosity changes to familiarity.”
If you’d like to get your hands on some of River Hill’s sweet strawberries, red and golden raspberries, regular and thornless blackberries, or the many varieties of vegetables that they grow, you have several opportunities. River Hill is at the Nevada City Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and their produce is also available at the BriarPatch Co-op. If you want to save a little money, you can purchase a “Friend of the Farm” card, which gets you an extra 10% off the produce you buy if you pre-purchase the card. You can find more information at riverhillfarm.com. You’ll have a special opportunity to visit the farm and meet Jo and Alan on July 7, when River Hill hosts a Sierra Harvest farm potluck.