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Good life: farming out the grandkids

Looking for a summer day trip with the grandkids? Consider checking out local farms. - Andrew Leong/file
Looking for a summer day trip with the grandkids? Consider checking out local farms.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

It’s a win-win.

A little nostalgia and pride for grandparents.

A whole lot of fun for the kiddies.

Choosing to visit a local farm to visit qualifies a must-do activity with grandkids this spring or summer.

“Grandparents often have some kind of relationship to a farm in their past, and so they want to relive that and they want to develop that same relationship for their grandchildren,” said Alderlea Farm’s Katy Ehrlich.

“They want to share that same experience with their own families. The grandparents are delighted to see the looks on the children’s faces too when they’re visiting the animals.”

Katy and husband John’s pastoral organic farm and cafe in Glenora has provided 200 shareholding families with weekly veggies through their Community Supported Agricultural model. But it is a popular local fixture families are visiting with their wee ones.

“Being on a farm, it just creates a peaceful experience to begin with, and when the children come to the farm they seem quite at peace,” Katy said.

And there’s a deeper appreciation for their work shown by the older folks and chaperones.

“They realize the importance the farm experience has had on their own life, just with the quality of local produce,” she said. “And not everyone has access to farms anymore as they might have in the past, and having this community farm available, our vegetable program, cafe, gives them that access.”

And their farm has a feast for the senses.

Visitors will get a chance to mingle with friendly cows, pigs, take in beautiful sunflowers and pastoral views, and smell fresh fruit, and farm food wafting from the cafe.

And maybe even hop on a tractor for a hay ride with farmer John, said Katy.

“I really like the part that the children, they see Farmer John and he becomes the hero in their eyes,” she said.

Alderlea often hosts events, including the upcoming Stinging Nettle Festival on April 13. And their place is open to the public Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Alderlea is hardly alone; there are plenty of other farms located around the Warm Land.

Agri-tours are a hit among the people who pop into the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre, said visitor services coordinator Kirsty Grant.

And with more and more parents juggling work while students get a break from the books, grandparents searching for fun local activities is happening quite often at their centre, said Grant.

She’s referred people to the Labyrinth at the Lavender Farm, the Tea Farm, and Yellow Point Cranberries, to name a few.

“It reminds them of their own childhood,” she said. “It was something they did growing up and something they can now share with their grandchildren.

“It’s an activity they can enjoy too.”

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