(First published on Non-Toxic Kids.)
Ah, summer. In summer local eating is so much easier. Vermonters wait for summer all year, and what a beauty it is. Pond swimming, river wading, berry picking -- it is amazing, and over in the blink of an eye.
As for tasty summer treats that don't include high fructose corn syrup (although we do have a maple creamee every once in a while in the summer!), here are a few ideas. Creamees, by the way, are the Vermont vernacular for soft serve ice cream. We go to a local farm to get creamees infused with Vermont maple syrup. A serious, delicious, summer treat after a swim or a mountain bike.
Make your own popsicles! Here is a post I wrote about this over at MightyNest. They've got these great BPA free molds you can use to make your own healthy popsicles at home. It's really easy, green, and fun. Kristen, a MightyNest founder, said her current favorite popsicle recipe is lemonade pops with floating blueberries. Yum!
Pick your own berries. Just the other day, the girls and I stumbled across some wild strawberries in our yard! We fed the mosquitoes as we picked the tasty little morsels for almost an hour. You can't get more local than your yard!
Then we got wise, and headed to Littlewood Farms to pick their organic strawberries. Tucked away along a stream, this organic farm is a beauty. They grow all sorts of vegetables, flowers, herbs and berries. We walked down the path, taking in the Vermont mountain view, to the strawberry fields. The girls and I (with some of our dear friends) picked berries contently for about 30 minutes, the attention span of our preschooler and kindergartners. I loved linking the action of picking with eating--and felt happy that we could chomp a few in the field, because they are organic.
We hiked back up and paid for our berries, much less than buying them at our local co-op. We are still eating one pint, 4 days later, and I froze the rest for smoothies, to add to oatmeal, or as simple summer treats on hot days.
Eat from your garden. I'm not much of a gardener, but we planted a small children's garden in the yard. It is full of easy plants for kids (and their mother's lack of a green thumb). We've planted tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce, and some annuals. The girls love to rip pieces off from their lettuce, and from the basil pots in front of our house. They are like rabbits, and will decimate an entire plant if I am not careful. But, I really don't mind, because that is exactly the point. Eat what you have grown, eat local, eat healthy.
What are your family's favorite summer healthy treats and activities? Wishing you long, lazy, summer days, filled with fresh berries, happy children, and sunshine.