image courtesy of Jamie Stephenson
With a crisp chill in the air reminding us that winter is right around the bend, my kids and I headed out to Gilcrease Orchard. One of the few farms located in Southern Nevada and conveniently situated in Las Vegas’ backyard, it is just a short drive away from us. Every Saturday during their open season they let people walk through their rows of produce literally creating a dinner menu in your head as you pluck fresh fruits and veggies from the earth. They have created an amazing opportunity to introduce your children to fruits and vegetables from the ground up so to say. In doing so, you can help your children develop a relationship with food that can grow and mature as they do. It is this platform here that can help establish healthier eating habits that can last a lifetime.
So as my children and I walked through rows of apple trees that had no fruit hanging, we discussed how they only grow doing certain times of the year and that most produce has a season. Then we came across an owl habitat where they learned that owls help to keep rodents to a minimum on agricultural farms. Gilcrease Orchards has 2-3 habitats spread across the farm. While not certified organic, this is just one example of how they instill organic practices.
Now it was time to find some veggies to add to our dinner table later that night. Fist we came upon rows of bold purple eggplants. Dense with nutrition, some literally touched the ground because they were so heavy. Since I enjoy a day of experimenting in the kitchen, I quickly felt like a kid again with a fast paced heart and a wide smile. I began looking for few eggplants while daydreaming of different ways to prepare them. Soon we came upon large bushes of grape tomatoes where we were able to find more than enough for the salad later. But they were somewhat scarce so when the kids found a perfectly red one or two, they jumped with excitement. Later we moved on to beets, the extra fun stuff. My kids were surprised to see me dig in the dirt and pull out a vegetable. They could not wait to join in the fun of hunting for the largest beet. My children truly enjoyed running through the aisles of the crops. And I enjoyed watching their curiosity develop into questions never asked before. Why are some tomatoes large and green and others small and red? Why are their holes in some leaves and not others? What makes those holes? It’s these moments here that help mold our children into thoughtful and well-rounded individuals.
Gilcrease Orchard has been in Las Vegas since 1920. In 1997 it was turned into a non-profit organization geared towards creating recreational and educational experiences for people to enjoy. They also host field trips throughout the school year to help elevate the educational experience of elementary school.
I am truly grateful to be able to create such wonderful memories with my children. I thank Gilcrease Orchard for making such things possible.