Let’s face it, road trips with kids are an entirely different experience than the fun-filled adventures I remember from college through pre-kid marriage. Blasting Bon Jovi has been replaced with whimsical remixes of nursery rhymes on repeat play, and incessant requests for a potty stop (usually 10 minutes after the previous one). Deep philosophical conversations have given way to spelling bees designed to prevent Big A from understanding inappropriate discourse with my husband. That said, the fact that the kids cannot sit for long stretches without going stir crazy, getting hungry, or peeing in their pants, has led to a different type of fun. While our trips have typically doubled (and sometimes tripled) in time, the effort to find delicious culinary pit-stops and activities to break up our travels has led to wonderful discoveries.
My guilty-pleasure on road trips remains the Heath Bar Blizzard at DQ, but in the spirit of wanting better (i.e., less artificial flavors and chemicals) for my children, and that our favorite fruits are all in season in summer, we love to make pit-stops at any number of delightful farms and fruit stands that line Highway 365/Georgia 441 north of the city. Below is a run down of My Little Foodies’ favorites from our road trip to Highlands, NC last weekend.
Always our first stop, you won’t miss the signage and large hanging peach enticing you to stop in for some of the sweetest and juiciest peaches around. The farm grows approximately 300 acres of fruits and vegetables, most of which are peaches. The heaviest production is from late July to and August, with ripening dates until mid-September. You can buy peaches by the cup, gallon bucket, or peck basket. The market is vast, and sells a variety of produce, fresh breads, and your typical jellies and jams. If you keep walking toward the café in the back, you will see a long line of Jaemor followers waiting patiently for the pièce de résistance: homemade, fresh peach (among other varieties) hand pies with a delicate glaze AND homemade peach soft serve ice cream. Don’t think about it; just do it. Brownie points if you take home a box pies for your coworkers at the end of the weekend. Don’t miss this fantastic pit-stop! http://www.jaemorfarms.com/
Hillside Orchard Farms
Blackberry picking with the grandparents has become a summertime tradition for My Little Foodies. Unlike strawberry picking, which in my mind is quite civilized, blackberry picking requires you to get down and dirty. Not only are you dealing with a variety of elements (heat, bugs, thick bushes with the juiciest berries right out of reach), you are also dealing with a mighty messy berry that your Little Foodies will be chomping on along the way. Save your sweet southern smocked dresses for another photo shoot. Bring clothes you don’t mind getting stained with the tart juicy goodness of July’s finest berry. Little A looked like he was attacked by a purple berry monster. We pick a few baskets and freeze the berries for homemade sorbets and cobblers throughout the year. Don’t forget to order some fresh-made blackberry or peach soft serve ice cream to reward your hard day’s work. Believe me it is no easy pickin’, but it’s worth it (and you deserve it). http://www.hillsideorchard.com/
Goats on the Roof
For years, my pleas for a stop at this roadside delight were simply met with a not-so-subtle roll of my husband’s eyes. This time, with grandparents there for support, we finally pulled in. Picture a village of wooden farmhouses with goats living on the roof. Evidently this place has an affectionate following, and I can see why, as a look of shear delight came over My Little Foodies’ faces as we approached Goats on the Roof. For a nominal fee, you can buy an ice cream cone full of goat feed. Use it to feed the baby goats in the pen, or try some of the wacky contraptions (hand pulleys, and stationary bicycle conveyers) to transport the food to the roof, and watch the larger goats devour their dinner.
Don’t forget to stop off at the country store for more jarred jams and chutneys, Amish cheeses and furniture, and what might arguably be Big A’s and my new favorite snack: okra chips: fresh okra crisped to perfection, and so addictively delicious. http://www.goats-on-the-roof.com/
Peaches (Gallon Bucket)-$8.00
Peach Hand Pies- $1.59
Homemade Peach Ice Cream (small)-$1.75
Hillside Orchard Farms
U-Pick Blackberries-$1.75/lb. (Free while picking)
Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream (small)-$2.00
Goats on the Roof
Goat Feed Ice Cream Cone-.50¢