Family Trips to the Local Farmers Markets
I find relief in knowing that any day of the week I can quickly pack up the kids and head off to a great day full of activity. It may sound sad, but when I tell the kids, “We are going to the farm today,” they respond with, “Are we getting donuts?” We have found a great place to eat, do several activities, and learn all at the same time: Terhune Orchards.
This farm is actually an orchard, farm, and winery. Most of the activities offered at Terhune Orchards are free. For example, I can take a canning class for free or learn about wine making for free. All you have to do is sign up in advance.
Terhune Orchards & Winery
What is Most Popular?
While Terhune Orchards offers a lot, there are some things that people will drive there specifically for:
- Pick Your Own: Next to Festivals, this is one of the most popular activities, but it is based on a fee. Often picking is combined with a story on special days.
- Donuts: Terhune Orchards is known first and foremost for their donuts. Three types are offered: plain apple cider, apple cider coated with cinnamon and sugar, and the donut hole version of the apple cider with cinnamon and sugar coating. These are literally to die for. My personal favorite are the donut holes, but my husband likes the plain (and is quickly migrating to the sugary version), and the kids like any kind they can get.
- Apple Cider: This is made fresh from the apples from their orchards.The cider is used in many of their other products like the wine and the donuts.
What the Farm Store Offers
There are myriad choices of produce like apples, but it does not end there. Here is a short, general list of what is available:
- Fresh produce
- Baked items
- Wine from their winery (10 selections available)
Group Activities Offered
- Guided Farm Tours
- Farm Classes
- Farm Walking Trail
- Read & Pick Program
- Summer Camp
- School Trips
- Corporate and Special Group Events
Some Activities Just For Kids (All Free)
- Clubhouse: This is used when parents want to take a class like canning. The kids can occupy themselves in the clubhouse.
- Barnyard of Animals: This is both a literal barnyard and a mix of free roaming animals and animals in places like chicken coups. Animals include sheep, goats, donkey, horses, ducks, geese, chickens, and cats.
- Playground: This is right by the animals. There are stationary tractors to ride on, a wooden activity set complete with a slide, and a play house.
- Biking Area: Provides several types of bikes for kids to ride in a packed dirt area.
- Feed the Animals: For ten cents you can get a handful of corn to feed to the sheep, ducks, and whoever else comes over. Yes, this has a "cost," but most parents just let their kids pick up any corn kernels that dropped to the ground and were not claimed.
- Free Apples: Kids are allowed to get one apple per visit for free.
This section is not meant to be critical, but rather informative so you can be prepared if you choose to go. Above all else, since these things are being offered for free, you really cannot complain.
- No picnics are allowed. However, there are picnic tables for eating things you buy or bring to the farm. But you cannot just roll out a blanket and pull out your picnic basket to eat on the ground. It is a real, working farm with tractors and all driving by.
- It can be extremely crowded on pick-your-own days or big events. One year we had to park in a designated business parking lot a couple miles away and then be bused back to the farm. When you are dealing with kids, this can be cumbersome.
- I have to wait until at least 10am to get donut holes. And they are only offered at the farm and not any of the farmers markets that supply to.
- Most of the bikes in the bike area are broken in some way. This can be really frustrating for kids and parents as we play musical chairs trying to first find a bike that is the right size and then find out the steering wheel does not work or the pedal is broken, or it is too heavy for the child to motor around.
- No dogs allowed. This does not bother me because I do not have one. But it is a word to the wise. I have seen plenty of dogs left in the car because of this.
Free Recipes They Offer
As if Terhune Orchards did not offer enough already, the gifts just keep on coming.
- Their website offers plenty of recipes for free. These recipes can also be obtained in print form from the Farm Store.
- Wagon and Pony Rides are available during festivals and birthday parties.
- At the end of certain seasons, you can get really good deals on potted plants and flowers. I was able to stock up on tomato plants and herbs for my home apothecary for a steal.
- There are two special populations that the farm serves in addition to the general public. Terhune Orchards accepts WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and Senior FMNP (Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) coupons. To learn more about these programs, please click here.
Location, Location, Location
Besides their main location, Terhune Orchards also offers their products at three satellite locations:
- Trenton Farmers Market (All Year)
- West Windsor Farmers Market (Summer Only; Saturdays 9am-1pm)
- Princeton Farmers Market (Summer Only; Thursdays 11am-4pm)
Basically everything they offer produce and bakery wise is available at these other locations. However, as mentioned above, the donut holes are not.
The hours of operation for the main location are:
- Monday-Friday: 9am-6pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 9am-5pm
Old MacDonald Had a Farm
What To Do During the Drive There
If you are looking for a way to not only entertain but also prepare your kids during and for the trip, try a nice sing-a-long! Pop in a CD or use Pandora to provide the music. Or, if you have neither, go ahead and sing a capella.
About The Author
Stephanie Bradberry is a freelance writer and editor. She is an educator, herbalist, and naturopath who runs her own home-based business, Stephanie J. Bradberry, LLC. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to farmers markets and sampling their offerings.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 Stephanie Bradberry