For Cabot family kids, summer life on a farm generally brings the opportunity for both more work and more fun. And, for many—like 18-year-old Caleb Peckham of Elm Farm in Woodstock, Connecticut—the work is part of the fun.Summertime on the farm for Cabot kids means two kinds of work: work fun and play fun #cabotfarmers #cabotcheese Click To Tweet
“Summer is my most favorite season because of haying and being able to help my dad with morning milking and stuff like that,” Caleb says. The young man is president of the local Future Farmers of America chapter and also county 4-H president. Along with his 15-year-old sister, Grace, Caleb handles calf feeding and he runs his own square bale hay business with the assistance of fellow 4-H’ers.
The two youngest in the family, Graham, 10, and Tucker, 9, help out, too, and also have a laying flock of chickens. They named their egg business, Egg to Pan, and sell their multicolored eggs at the family’s Farm to Table Market, where Grace and Graham also work.
Hard work calls for hard-working, protein-rich snacks – ideally made with farm-fresh ingredients like those sold at the Peckham family’s market. How about these zesty zucchini sticks with yogurt dip, or mini, grabbable egg cups stuffed with garden veggies?
Many farm kids and 4-H club members like the Peckhams work hard in the summer training their show calves to bring them to the local county fairs held all over during the summer season, another seasonal highlight for many.
As much satisfaction as they all take from making meaningful contributions to the daily workload, Caleb and his siblings also know how to kick back. After a hot day of haying, you can be sure that the whole crew will head down the stream that cuts through their farm to the neighbors’ swimming hole. “We jump right in with our clothes on,” Caleb says, although they do pause long enough to take their shoes off, he notes with a grin.
Another special summertime treat is eating supper outdoors at the picnic table looking over the cornfields, Caleb explains. “We eat together year-round,” he says, “but it’s more special to do it outside. It’s so peaceful and there are so many fireflies.”
Here are some great summer burger ideas, including a mouthwatering beef and mushroom combo and a super-moist turkey patty.
In Barton, Vermont at the Farm at Wheeler Mountain, 2-year-old Audrey Lidback is enjoying her second summer on the farm. Her mom, Joanna, says the toddler is her little shadow and especially loves visiting with the calves.
At eight years of age, Audrey’s older brother, Thomas, echoes Caleb Peckham when he answers that “working” is his favorite part of summer. Thomas loves to help feed the calves and milk as well as shift levers on the tractor that runs feed into the barn (under the watchful eye of his parents). Riding along with his dad out in the hayfields is another highlight.
Hot summer days mean frosty summer treats. Kids can help make these pure and simple fruity popsicles, or this magically easy strawberry frozen yogurt – no ice cream machine required!
Eli, 6, and Thomas have spent past summers mastering bike-riding with the help of their uncle, Joanna’s brother, Andrew Samuelson, a teacher who gets his farm fix every summer by coming to help out. All three kids love to go on gator rides with their dad when he fetches the cows in from pasture and long summer evenings allow for relaxing family walks after supper with their dog, Buzzman.
And in Ogdensburg, NY, the Gendebien family from sure knows how to enjoy the outdoors in the summer. Miles, 15, Truman, 13, and Noah, 12 have their own private adventure park with a zipline over the swimming pond, hay bales to scramble over, and (not-so-scary) animals to encounter. There’s nothing quite like a summer of fun on the farm.
Although we’d love to promise endless sunny summer days without a cloud in the sky, farmers need rain so let’s hope there are some cozy rainy days, too. Cooking is a fun and creative way to put those to good use. Check out some tips for cooking with kids of different age ranges here.