• Jenny Bell

Grounding Through Fruit Picking

Updated: Sep 22, 2019

#fruitpicking #mindfulfamily #familyadventure #mindfuleating

Apple picking in the fall has become a family tradition, we started off just as a couple 11 years ago. Picking your own fruit can be both a mindful and grounding experience for all involved.

Visiting a farm can also lead to some beautiful photo ops.

I would like to begin by defining what it means to be grounded. People use this term often and it may not be clear as to what it really means. To be grounded is to feel rooted in the present moment. When you are grounded you feel calm, you feel clear-headed and you often feel relaxed. Being among nature is grounding for us because it connects us to the earth and the natural rhythm of life. When we are inside with artificial light, it is easier for us to grow anxious or depressed. We are mammals and need the sun and the earth just as much as the other animals on our planet.

Two of my goals as a parent is to help my children connect to the earth and to their food. Connection to the earth will help children make eco-conscious choices in their future. They learn to become stewards for the planet. Having children connect to their food helps them appreciate food for its nutrient gifts. My children knew as soon as they could understand that food is to nourish and keep your body healthy and working. They also understand that some food is "fun" like french fries or candy while other foods are healing like apples or oranges. Fruit picking gives space for both of these goals. My children know what fruit is, how it grows and what a farm looks like. It is a real tangible experience I have been able to give to them.

Zach's first time apple picking

A few hours on a farm can help the whole family feel more grounded by being among trees and connecting with nature. Visiting farms helps us all see how different plants and animals work together with people and where we fit into the cycle. Visiting can also help connect us to the seasons and the change they bring. It will also give the family opportunity to try new foods as most farms grow different varieties of fruits than you can find at the store.

Step One Find a Farm:

First find a you pick farm near you. To locate a farm ask around or check this site: http://www.pickyourown.org/

If there isn't one near you then look for a farmer's market, food festival or a farm stand near you.

Step Two Plan:

It is best to check the farm's website or social media ahead of time to learn of what other places are nearby, any rules, prices, etc.

I suggest bringing cash with you just in case they don't take card.

Pack a lunch and have a picnic on the farm or at a park nearby. This picnic adds to the experience but also helps every stay nice on the trip.

If you plan on making this a photo shoot for your kids or family, bring a change of clothes for picking--just in case.

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, you may not be a real farmer but today you are planning on doing some actual picking.

Wear sunscreen, bring hats and plenty of water.

Pick up some books about farmers, fruits and farms at your local library for the car ride for you kids to look over. My favorite is Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet.

You may also want to look up some recipes for the fruit you are picking ahead of time and plan on making something that evening or maybe the next day together. I never get to this step because we love to eat fresh fruit as a family. In fact, the berries we pick almost never make it home.

I love carriers like this for babies so they can really enjoy the experience too.

Step Three Enjoy Without Expectations:

Oftentimes, when we as parents plan something new we feel disappointed or embarrassed if the rest of the family doesn't enjoy themselves. Let that go. Your older kids may think this is weird or a waste of time but as you keep doing more activities like this, they will enjoy themselves.

Be prepared to just enjoy the nature. We have had it rain on us a few times at the apple farm and instead of getting upset we just enjoy the amazing smell of rain on the apple trees.

Some Final Tips on Making it Mindful:

When you arrive at the farm, remind everyone that you are there to enjoy yourself and learn about the fruit and the farm.

Point out the colors, textures and smells as often as possible to bring the family into the present moment.

Talk to your children about how the fruit in their hand began as a little seed a long time ago and through the miracle of life is now a fruit to help nourish their body.

You and your family can thank the tree or berry bushes or vine for giving you the fruit.

You and your family can imagine yourselves as trees and growing roots there on the farm as a grounding meditation.

Breathe deeply as often as possible and enjoy the moment.

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