A perfect field trip with sweet corn to boot

Field trips for kids, field trips for kids … we are lucky to
have a fantastic theme park in town and to be driving distance from
several amazing kids’ museums.
Field trips for kids, field trips for kids … we are lucky to have a fantastic theme park in town and to be driving distance from several amazing kids’ museums. But recently a member of the Las Madres of Gilroy mothers’ group picked a much more unexpected place.

An organic vegetable farm.

Whoo hoo, kids, watch the corn grow! Seriously, I knew the trip would be an important and fascinating look at where our food comes from. Someone in my household pronounces vegetables “bench-tables” and I knew she was old enough to be curious about them.

Michele Marini explained why she selected the San Martin farm for a field trip: “The Dispatch ran an article on Ynot Organics, and I thought that it would be neat for the kids to see where our vegetables come from since this great little farm is literally in our backyard.”

Owner KT Brooks herded our large group (25 moms and kids) around the grounds, starting with the chicken coop where organic eggs meet the hay. The children happily touched the feathers of a bird KT held out for their exploration until it got antsy and she put it back in the coop. Vegetables AND chickens? Right on!

Then we toured the herb plot where she took a knife out to cut generous portions of sage, Italian parsley, cilantro and others, letting all of us inhale the fresh scents.

They smelled much more strongly than herbs that sit in supermarkets, tied in small bundles and losing their essence hour by hour.

As we walked across the lot to where lettuce grows, I was still carrying the dill that had been handed to me. It dawned on me that not only were we going to see firsthand where these vegetables grow: we were going to be able to take some home with us. Nice!

At each vegetable garden, KT pulled or cut produce for us to eat on the spot. Sweet, tiny grape tomatoes. A cucumber. Beets. It truly felt like sleight of hand to watch these wholesome vegetables emerge from the ground or vine.

Libby Kranz, heavily pregnant (due Aug. 27!) and there with her two older kids, joked as we walked past a row sporting striped watermelon: “They must think ‘What a weird way to store your produce!’ ” In other words, that it was sitting on the ground rather than in supermarket bins.

Said Marini, “The highlight of the trip for me was seeing the kids pull their own carrot out of the ground, as most probably had only seen carrots emerge from plastic bags out of our refrigerators.”

I have to agree. There was true excitement as Brooks loosened the carrots with her trowel, and then the kids bent to heave them out of the ground. And what a surprise, some of the carrots were a lovely red in hue.

For me, the “aha” moment came when Brooks peeled an ear of corn and broke it apart for us to eat. I was thinking, “Yeah, right, raw corn. Yech.” And then I gamely bit into it and … wow. I emitted a sound of shock and pleasure combined, and Brooks laughed and said, “Everyone makes that sound.”

I can’t describe how creamy and delicious that ear was. Uncooked and without the dripping butter I usually prescribe, it was sweet beyond measure. I hungered for more than the 3-inch portion I’d been given, and resolved to buy some. Admittedly, it was “Kandy Korn,” a sweeter than usual variety, but still.

Brooks’ partner came out with a huge basket of bagged green beans for us all to take home. Such a wealth, as we left with herbs, carrots, and beets in hand, and more than that in our bellies. All that for a minimal cost spread across the families.

One of the mothers, Saman Jamal, invited us over for lunch, where she whipped up a lovely, simple pasta dish featuring parsley from the farm, with garlic, olive oil and red pepper. Delicious!

That night, I cut coins out of the red and orange carrots and the purple beet, and created a sunburst pattern on a sage-green plate. Another mom, Cara, said, “I made some roasted red potatoes with the fresh dill and steamed the green beans: they were super good! And Lily ate the carrot.” Amazing to eat food that hours ago was in the ground.

The best part of all: my daughter asked me when we could plant our own vegetables.

Erika Mailman is weeding her virtual garden at www.erikamailman.com. You can order

vegetables straight from Ynotorganics.com for home delivery or pick-up at Naomi’s Coffee in

Morgan Hill.

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